Have we finally reached the tipping point on corporate personhood, and the role of corporations in influencing U.S. elections?

I never got around to mentioning it last week, but Democratic Senators Tom Udall, Michael Bennet, Tom Harkin, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Jeff Merkely introduced a Constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance on Tuesday, which, if passed, would trump the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which essentially made it possible for corporations to expend unlimited funds in hopes of influencing U.S. elections. At a press conference, Udall said, “Letting this go unchecked is a threat to our democracy.” He added, “The Supreme Court’s decision to encourage the corrosive effects special interest money is having on the election process fundamentally contradicts the American ideal that campaigns should be about the best ideas and not the biggest bank accounts.” The following clip comes from Think Progress:

…The amendment as filed resolves that both Congress and individual states shall have the power to regulate both the amount of contributions made directly to candidates for elected office and “the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.”

“By limiting the influence of big money in politics, elections can be more about the voters and their voices, not big money donors and their deep pockets,” said Harkin of the amendment. “We need to have a campaign finance structure that limits the influence of the special interests and restores confidence in our democracy. This amendment goes to the heart of that effort.”

Passing this amendment or any other amendment to the Constitution is an arduous process. There are two ways to propose a constitutional amendment. Either two-thirds of Congress can agree to an amendment or there can be a constitutional amendment called by two-thirds of state legislatures (this path has never been taken). In order to ratify an amendment, three-quarters of state legislatures must agree or three-quarters of states must have individual constitutional conventions that agree.

And here, with more, is Thom Hartmann, who seems to think, based upon this development, and the fact that voters in Boulder just adopted a resolution calling for the U.S. Congress to amend the Constitution to end corporate personhood, that we may have finally reached a tipping point.

For more on the battle to see a 28th Amendment enacted that would end corporate personhood, and restrict corporate influence over U.S. elections, see Move to Amend.

Also, if you didn’t read it at the time, you’ll find an interview I did with the folks starting the local Ypsi/Arbor Move to Amend chapter here.

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  1. Edward
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    As Think Progress points out, it’s incredibly difficult to amend the Constitution, even in the best of situations. Here, I think, it would be almost impossible, given the extent to which our legislators are bought and paid for.

    Speaking of corruption in Congress, did anyone else catch Jack Abramoff on 60 Minutes last night?


    I’m inclined to think nothing will change until we have Congress surrounded, chanting for their heads.

  2. Posted November 7, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    A valiant effort, though likely to fail given who has to vote on it.

  3. Tommy
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Great idea, but the liklihood of this getting thru Congress is next to nil. This is the root of all evil in politics today, and I just don’t see the beneficiaries making any changes. You want a single cause for the OWS crowd to rally around? This is it.

    Is it just me, or do others cringe at whatever leaves the mouth of Chuck Schumer? Never shied away from a microphone in his life.

  4. Elf
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone called Levin or Stabenow and asked where they stand on this?

  5. j
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Closing the barn doors after the paste is dry. It’s way too late.

  6. Meta
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    From The Nation:

    Americans who are frustrated with the broken politics of the moment will have plenty of opportunities to Occupy the Polls on Tuesday.

    That’s what happened in Boulder, Colorado, last week, when voters shook things up by backing a referendum proposal that calls on Congress to enact a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision that corporations can spend as they choose to buy elections. The same election saw Boulder voters endorse a plan to end the city’s reliance on private power companies and replace them with a public utility.

    There are big issues, big races and big tests of the political potency of organized labor, social movements and progressive politics playing out this Tuesday, on the busiest election day of 2011. In some cases, voting offers an opportunity to make an affirmative statement on behalf of a change in priorities. In other cases, there are opportunities to push back against bad politics and bad policies. In still others, there are signals to be sent about the politics of 2012.

    You can find the rest of the article here-


  7. Tatersalad
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Wall Street profits have more than “doubled” under the Obama administration than all of Geo. W. Bush’s:


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