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Jim Crist: Urge Legislature to give citizens say on money in politics

Jim Crist: Urge Legislature to give citizens say on money in politics

Dump Citizens United cropped

In October 2012 over 1,000 people laid down on a San Francisco beach to spell out their cause: “DUMP CITIZENS UNITED!” 

Nineteen states have called for a constitutional amendment that would overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision. Rep. Scott Allen, a Republican from Waukesha, won't even allow a public hearing on a resolution that would let Wisconsinites vote on this core issue of our time. While many politicians may like unlimited and often-undisclosed campaign contributions, the rest of America is disgusted by them.

Last week, Allen refused a request to have AJR 53 placed on the public hearing agenda, calling the advisory referendum “politics at its worst." Wisconsin law provides for advisory referendums. There was a statewide referendum in 2006 pertaining to the death penalty.

"Politics at its worst" -- really?? This is a cross-partisan issue. There are plenty of billionaires on both sides of the aisle. Both parties are raking in campaign cash. Money talks and the rest of us have no say.

It’s outrageous that Allen, the committee chair, won’t even allow a discussion of the resolution to be put on the agenda. This is the Constitution and Ethics Committee, after all. And Citizens United has torn a hole in our Constitution, drowning out our free speech rights as citizens and ushering in all sorts of ethical problems.

These resolutions (AJR 53 and  SJR 54) were introduced by Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, and Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay. Polls show a vast majority of Americans view our election system as corrupt. Special interest money has enormous political influence and everyday citizens feel they are getting no representation.

“It is stunning that Republican Representative Scott Allen considers giving the average Wisconsinite the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box to be ‘politics at its worst,’” said Subeck. “Wisconsinites are fed up with the massive corporate and special interest spending Citizens United has ushered into our elections, and it is time to let them be heard.”

Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

Here in Wisconsin, 115 communities have called for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. Almost half of Wisconsinites live in jurisdictions that have voted for this, and the "yes" votes are in the 80-90 percent range. Across America, 19 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as about 750 towns, villages, cities and counties.

Please contact Scott Allen (608-266-8580 /, and urge him to hold a public hearing on AJR 53. Demand that he let the people speak about the urgent need to proclaim, once and for all, that only people have inalienable rights and money is not the same thing as free speech.

Jim Crist is the co-chair of Wisconsin United To Amend. United to Amend is a nonpartisan, all volunteer citizens group. For more information visit

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