Sixteen American states and roughly 500 cities, villages and towns have formally asked the Congress of the United States to begin the process of amending the Constitution to restore the historic right of citizens to regulate spending on campaigns. That right has been undermined by a series of decisions from an activist U.S. Supreme Court majority — culminating in the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision — that have removed century-old barriers to the buying of elections by corporations and billionaire campaign donors.
The movement to amend the constitution has strong roots in Wisconsin, and especially in Madison and Dane County, both of which voted overwhelmingly in 2011 to urge the state’s congressional representatives to take a stand against the corruption of our politics and governance. Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Madison, heard the call. He’s one of the sponsors of a bold amendment proposal.
But it is vital to keep the pressure on the delegation.
That’s why it is good news that communities around the state will this spring be voting on advisory referendums that call for an amendment.
One of them is Belleville, where voters will be asked to signal their support for a proposal to amend the Constitution “to establish that only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights” and that “money is not speech, and therefore regulating corporations and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.”
We’re glad Belleville is taking up this issue. And we hope the village will join the chorus, in Wisconsin and nationally, that is calling for real reform of an electoral process that is being warped to the point of dysfunction by a politics that places a higher value on the dollar than the vote.
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