The OCCUPIED Amendment: Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining our Elections and Democracy

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All Hands on Deck: Resolutions Week
Mar 13, 2012

Congressman Deutch is proud to support Resolutions Week, an effort by People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Move to Amend, and other grassroots organizations committed to restoring our democracy.

As he champions the OCCUPIED Amendment in Congress, you can take this effort to the grassroots level by passing a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment in your home town. By signing up, national organizers will get in touch with you and provide you with resources along the way.

Every city council, county commission, or state legislature that passes a resolution in support of amending the Constitution brings us one step closer towards creating a democracy that works for all of us - not just corporations and a few wealthy billionaires.

NY Times: Lines Blur Between Candidates and PACs With Unlimited Cash
Mar 2, 2012

One night last month, Mitt Romney strode into a dining room above Central Park that was packed with dozens of his wealthiest supporters, gathered there by a group of former campaign aides, to talk about his bid for the White House.

The event was not a fund-raiser for Mr. Romney’s campaign, however, but for Restore Our Future, a political action committee founded by his allies. And only when Mr. Romney left the room did one of the group’s officials stand up to brief the donors on their plans: to raise and spend millions of dollars in unrestricted campaign donations — something presidential candidates are forbidden to do themselves — to help elect Mr. Romney president.

Mr. Romney’s appearance underscored the increasingly blurry line between presidential candidates and the so-called Super PACs that have proliferated since a 2010 Supreme Court ruling allowed independent groups to raise unlimited amounts to promote candidates.

Most of this year’s presidential candidates are now backed by one or more dedicated Super PACs. Unlike the broad-based independent groups backing multiple candidates that flooded last year’s Congressional elections with negative advertising — playing a role similar to that of traditional party committees — the new groups are each dedicated to the election of a single candidate.

The groups are typically founded by the candidates’ former aides, financed by the candidates’ top donors and implicitly blessed by the candidates themselves. And they are quickly beginning to rival the candidates’ own money operations in size and scope, setting off a fund-raising arms race that is changing the way presidential campaigns are financed and executed.

Read the entire article at nytimes.com

Citizens United on Steroids?
Jan 19, 2012

Two years ago, when the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations and the super wealthy have the right to spend unlimited and undisclosed amounts of money in our elections, legal scholars and public interest groups alike warned that all laws limiting money in politics would soon be under attack. Unfortunately, they were right.

The Republican National Committee is now arguing in court that Citizens United did not go far enough, and that our century-old ban on direct corporate giving to politicians is unconstitutional (read about it here). Sharing this warped view is none other than Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, who despite appearing at multiple fundraisers for his Super PAC, recently said in a debate, "We would all like to have Super PACs disappear, to tell you the truth. Wouldn't it be nice to have people give what they would like to campaigns?"

Apparently, the RNC and Mitt Romney want a free-for-all elections system in which corporations and the super wealthy can buy even more influence. Most Americans agree there is already too much money in politics. Ask your friends to join you in support of the OCCUPIED Amendment by recommending our petition onFacebook and Twitter now.

The Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment makes clear that corporations are not people but private entities banned from spending their profits on our elections. As thousands of Americans like you pledge their support for the OCCUPIED Amendment and its companion bill introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders in the United States Senate, the number of cosponsors in Congress has grown by the day. 

Keep the momentum in Congress going by urging your friends on Facebook and Twitter to sign the OCCUPIED Amendment petition.

If Mitt Romney has his way, our democracy will soon fall victim to "Citizens United on Steroids," and corporations and their CEOs will donate millions of dollars without restriction to the candidates that support their bottom lines. 

As we approach the two-year anniversary of Citizens United help me double support for the OCCUPIED Amendment by getting just a friend or two on Facebook and Twitter to sign our petition.

Stopping special interests from drowning out the will of the people is the defining struggle of our time. Amending the Constitution is hard work, and building a movement is the only way to do it. Together, we can get money out of politics and return our democracy to the people.

Share the petition on Facebook.

Share the petition on Twitter.

This effort is about more than any single election. It is about protecting the integrity of our democratic form of government. I cannot thank you enough for taking a stand today.

Yours truly,

Rep. Ted Deutch

Democrat, Florida's 19th District

Most Widely Supported Amendment in Congress
Jan 19, 2012

Last November, Rep. Ted Deutch introduced the OCCUPIED Amendment because he believed that simply granting Congress the ability to regulate campaign finance was not enough. We need to amend the Constitution and immediately get corporate money out of our elections once and for all. 

In just over a month, the outpouring of support for the OCCUPIED Amendment has led H.J. Res 90 to become the most widely supported proposal addressing Citizens United on Capitol Hill. H.J. Res 90 now has more cosponsors than any constitutional amendment currently in the House of Representatives, and recently, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont introduced companion legislation in the Senate known as the Saving American Democracy Amendment.

Thanks to your phone calls, emails, and support, the following members have signed on as cosponsors of H.J. Res 90:

Rep Chu, Judy (CA-32)
Rep Cohen, Steve (TN-9) 
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. (MI-14)
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. (OR-4)  
Rep Ellison, Keith (MN-5)  
Rep Farr, Sam (CA-17) 1 
Rep Filner, Bob (CA-51)
Rep Frank, Barney (MA-4)
Rep Fudge, Marcia L. (OH-11) 
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. (AZ-7) 
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. (FL-23)
Rep Hinchey, Maurice (NY-22)
Rep Jackson Jr, Jesse (IL-2)
Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila (TX-18)  
Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. (GA-4) 
Rep Larsen, Rick (WA-2)
Rep Larson, John B. (CT-1) 
Rep Lee, Barbara (CA-9)
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. (NY-14) 
Rep McDermott, Jim (WA-7) 
Rep McNerney, Jerry (CA-11)
Rep Moran, Jim (VA-8)
Rep Norton, Eleanor-Homes (DC)
Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. (NJ-6) 
Rep Pingree, Chellie (ME-1)
Rep Rangel, Charles B. (NY-15)
Rep Slaugther, Louise (NY-28) 
Rep Sutton, Betty (OH-13)  
Rep Van Hollen, Chris (MD-8) 
Rep Welch, Peter (VT)
 
If your representative is not on the list above, feel free to reach out and inform him or her of your support for the H.J. Res 90, the OCCUPIED Amendment.
Sen. Bernie Sanders Files Companion Constitutional Amendment in U.S. Senate
Dec 12, 2011

Saving American Democracy Amendment is Companion to OCCUPIED Amendment in House

(Washington, DC) Last week, the movement to overturn Citizens United gained new momentum when Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) filed the S.J. Res 33, the Saving American Democracy Amendment, a companion bill to Congressman Deutch’s H.J. Res 90, the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment.
 

While several amendments aimed at overturning Citizens United have been introduced in recent weeks, the Sanders-Deutch amendment is the only proposal that:

  • Makes clear that free speech and other constitutionally protected rights are those of natural persons and not corporations or entities formed to promote their business interests.
  • Reaffirms that corporations are formed in accordance with laws written by the people and are thus subject to laws enacted to protect the environment, ensure public health, and other safeguards for the people.
  • Overturns Citizens United by ending corporations’ ability to spend unlimited amounts of their general treasury funds in elections.
  • Empowers Congress and the States to crack down on spending by third party front groups using anonymous cash from corporations and their CEOs and authorizes the setting of caps, limits, and disclosure requirements on all forms of political expenditures and contributions.

To read a fact sheet on the amendment, click here.

"I am thrilled that Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced the Saving American Democracy Amendment, a companion bill to H.J. Res 90, my legislation in the House,” said Congressman Deutch on the day of its introduction. “The dominance of corporations in Washington has imperiled the economic security of the American people and left our citizens profoundly disenchanted with our democracy. I look forward to working with Senator Sanders to save American democracy by banning all corporate spending in our elections and cracking down on secret front groups using anonymous corporate cash to undermine the public interest."

To read the Senate version, click here.

To read the House version, click here.

 

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