We need you to act.
When the Supreme Court decided the Citizens United case, it overturned much of the existing campaign finance law that was inadequate to begin with. Apparently the court’s majority intended spending to be freer as long as it was transparent. Unfortunately, the decision caused more deceitful spending by creating new opportunities to hide financing sources. Honest, direct donations are still disclosed but there are now legal anonymous donations to organizations that support candidates and political causes — dark money.
A substantial majority of citizens correctly conclude that money corrupts our politics and that it is getting worse, so someone should do something about it. Last summer, Wyoming Promise decided to “be someone” and “do something about it.” We circulated a ballot initiative petition to amend the Constitution to make clear that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.
Falling short of our goal this year, we decided neither to give up nor do another petition drive. We will go directly to legislators with the facts because elected representatives have the most direct course for a constitutional amendment, and only a constitutional amendment can fully restore the idea of government for the people and by the people.
When the Supreme Court decided that corporations have the same right to free speech as citizens and that money is the same as protected speech, they were not only wrong but ridiculous and fantastic. Some manipulating mind tortured that idea seeking a particular goal. It did not come from the words of the Constitution, the intent of founders or even a change in public expectations.
In spite of America’s foundation of representative government, in spite of positive changes, we know that we are neither heeded nor heard. Campaign finance reform has a 70 percent plus majority approval of voters in most states, including Wyoming. Yet reform is unlikely to come to a vote in Congress, will be ineffective if passed and will even be subject to court challenge without a Constitutional amendment that states directly that corporations are not people and money is not speech.
When we write to you in the Senate or House to express our concerns, your replies are usually polite, say that you are aware of the issue and perhaps say something about the status of the issue in Congress, and that you will keep our opinions in mind. Yet when these popular vital issues come up, you vote with a majority of representatives against us — even though poling time and time again shows that a majority of Americans are with us on the issues.
We want you to address this issue. We want you to champion this cause; sponsor and fight for a bill that calls for a constitutional amendment to say that corporations are not persons and money is not speech. We want you to represent we the people of America, not special interests or nefarious donors from wherever in the world.