Constitutional Amendment Introduced in Congress Ensuring Rights for People, Not Corporations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, February 11, 2013
Reps. Nolan & Pocan Respond to Hundreds of Local Resolutions Calling for “We the People” Amendment
(Washington D.C.) – The movement for constitutional reforms that would end what organizers call “corporate rule” has arrived in the chambers of Congress. This morning, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined Move to Amend by announcing their sponsorship of the “We the People Amendment,” which clearly and unequivocally states that:
1. Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and
2. Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.
In making the announcement, lead sponsor Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-Minnesota), said: “It’s time to take the shaping and molding of public policy out of corporate boardrooms, away from the corporate lobbyists, and put it back in city halls – back with county boards and state legislatures – and back in the Congress where it belongs.”
Ben Manski, a spokesperson for Move to Amend, agreed, saying: “Today, members of Congress join a movement that insists on the fundamental equality of all Americans, and that rejects the idea that the corporate class should have special protections against We the People.”
The Move to Amend coalition was formed in 2009 in preparation for the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Today, the coalition of nearly 260,000 people and hundreds of organizations has helped to pass nearly 500 resolutions in municipalities and local governments across the country calling on the state and federal governments to adopt this amendment.
The Move to Amend coalition makes a point of differentiating themselves from the other proposals that have come forward in response to Citizens United. “In every single community where Americans have had the opportunity to call for a Constitutional amendment to outlaw corporate personhood, they have seized it and voted yes overwhelmingly, stated George Friday, Move to Amend spokesperson. “The Citizens United decision is not the cause, it is a symptom. We must remove big money and special interests from the legal and political process entirely.”
Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]
Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.