May 21, 2012
To: SPEEA Council Members
From: SPEEA Legislative and Public Affairs Committee
Subject: PRE-SUBMITTED NEW BUSINESS: Oppose Corporations are People Rights in State and National Politics.
On January 21st 2010 a sharply divided Supreme Court decision ruled that the restrictions on corporate expenditures in elections contained in the federal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known as BCRA or “McCain-Feingold”) violated the First Amendment protections of free speech.
The ruling dramatically expands the new “corporate rights” doctrine that has transformed the First Amendment in recent years, and exposes an already-corrupted political process to a new flow of billions of dollars of corporate money.
The result in Citizens United is radical. To accomplish this, the majority - - Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito - - had to overrule two previous cases where the Court ruled correctly that Congress and the States may try to keep corporate money out of politics. In the Citizens United case, the Court cast aside a 2003 decision, McConnell v. FEC, where the Court upheld the very provision it now ruled unconstitutional, and a 1990 decision, Austin v. Chamber of Commerce, where the Court had ruled that a Michigan law limiting corporate expenditures in elections did not violate the First Amendment.
Corporations are not people endowed with Constitutional rights. They are entities created by the laws of states and nations. Contributions and expenditures for political purposes are not Constitutionally protected speech. States shall have the power to regulate contributions and expenditures for campaigns and ballot measures and require public disclosure of the sources of same.
Recently introduced H.J. Res 88 - the Peoples Rights Amendment would overturn the Citizens United ruling and help to ensure that people not corporations shall govern America.
National polling shows that opposition to unchecked corporate power transcends political and ideological lines. Support for an Amendment to overturn Citizens United in 2011: Independent Voters = 82% Republican Voters 68% Democratic Voters = 87%
http://freespeechforpeople.org/ See pdf downloads, articles, etc.
SPEEA L&PA Committee Recommendation
The SPEEA Legislative and Public Affairs Committee recommends passage of this motion.
It is moved that: THE SPEEA COUNCIL supports State and National efforts to reverse the 2010 Citizens United ruling and to limit the power of corporations from having the same constitutional rights as people.
This will help restore campaign spending transparency and address political disparity created by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling.
It may be viewed as anti-business.