What do YOU want to influence the election of your representatives?
Special Interest Money?
Under Federal Election Law, an individual may contribute only $2,500 per election directly to a campaign.
HOW CAN SOMEONE CONTRIBUTE $10,000,000?
If they want to remain anonymous; they can contribute to a non-profit 501(c)(4) group that supports their candidate or their candidate’s position.
If they don’t mind being identified; they can contribute to a Party-aligned Super Pac. (see: diagram)
HOW DID IT HAPPEN THAT THE LAW IS BEING CIRCUMVENTED?
A number of Supreme Court decisions have determined that the Constitution does not allow Congress to bar certain unlimited campaign spending.
For example; in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Supreme Court concluded;
“that independent expenditures(1), including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. That speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean those officials are corrupt. AND THE APPEARANCE OF INFLUENCE OR ACCESS WILL NOT CAUSE THE ELECTORATE TO LOSE FAITH IN THIS DEMOCRACY.”
A poll of Americans show 69% of Americans (74% of Republicans and 73% of Democrats) agree that “unlimited money to Super PACs will lead to corruption”(2)
There are 314,287,564 people in the United States.
Just 27,000 individuals (.009% of the population) contributed $774,000,000 to the political campaigns in 2010. That’s 24.3% of all contributions came from less than 1% of Americans.
Just 17 individuals gave more than $500,000 each.
DO YOU THINK YOUR VOICE IS HEARD AS LOUDLY AS ONE OF THOSE 17 CONTRIBUTORS?
IS YOUR VOICE BEING DROWNED OUT BY BIG MONEY?
HAVE YOU LOST FAITH IN THIS DEMOCRACY?
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO RESTORE OUR FAITH IN THIS DEMOCRACY?
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM!
Real campaign finance reform is necessary to make Congress “dependent on the people alone.”(3) Real limits on the amount individuals may contribute to a campaign must be established, and corporate money must be banned from elections.
There are many proposals to accomplish this objective. One such proposal is the so called “Grant and Franklin Project” . This method of campaign finance would only allow limited "people supported' funding (see: diagram)
Because the US Supreme Court has concluded that the Constitution currently does not allow the barring of some unlimited campaign contributions, campaign finance reform cannot be accomplished without an amendment to our Constitution allowing Congress to institute such prohibitions.
A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
There are several ways a Constitutional amendment can be proposed and ratified. In general; Congress, either at the recommendation of 34 State legislatures or on its own, can draft an amendment or call a Constitutional convention to draft an amendment.
Once an amendment is proposed, 38 States must ratify it before it becomes part of our Constitution.
This can be a long process, and care must be taken to ensure the amendment will attain the goal of allowing real campaign finance reform.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
AT A MINIMUM
Support efforts to end the corrupting influence of money in our government, by approving local resolutions in your Town Warrant instructing your New Hampshire representatives to support campaign finance reform (such as the Grant and Franklin Project), and a Constitutional amendment allowing Congress to pass REAL campaign finance reform that will limit individual contributions and prohibit corporate contributions.
FOR THE LONG TERM
Support the long term goal of a Constitutional amendment.
Because a Constitutional amendment is a long drawn-out process, don’t allow your representatives to lose sight of the goal. Stay active in supporting the process, even if you only write your representatives or just support the efforts of your neighbors pursuing this result.
For further information, please write to: Joe@WeThePeople-MWV.org
(1) "Independent expenditures" are those that are not supposed to be coordinated directly with a candidate.
(2) PEW Research Center, 17 Jan 2012
(3) The Federalist No. 52 (James Madison). 328