28th Amendment

The Wolf-PAC Resolution does not contain specific amendment language because we truly want to hear all sides and solutions at the amendments convention.  We think the amendment should contain these core values: 

"Corporations are not people. They have none of the Constitutional rights of human beings. Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly. No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed."

*Note: The finished legislation will be worded differently and have to account for inflation, etc. This is simply to point legislators in the right direction and make sure the final amendment accomplishes the goals we have outlined here.



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commented 2014-08-20 14:20:36 -0400 · Flag
You know, This amendment is VERY easy to circumvent. Employment after the congressperson leaves office is still a good incentive. Imagine working at 10 jobs but have no need to show up for any one of them. If you have to restrict their employment de jure and by providing post-employment benefits so they don’t starve to death, you will run into all sorts of problems of their own.
commented 2014-08-14 10:06:50 -0400 · Flag
Declaring that corporations are not people just doesn’t go nearly far enough: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-13/bank-international-settlements-backdoor-betrayal
commented 2014-08-01 22:57:48 -0400 · Flag
Zom Bee: Wolf-Pac’s resolution, in Vermont & Massachusetts at least, calls for an Article V Convention, but limits the subject of the convention. The following is an excerpt from VT Act 454, the Resolution passed by the VT state legislature: “Whereas, the State of Vermont believes that a convention called pursuant to Article V of the U.S. Constitution should be convened to consider amendments to that Constitution to limit the corrupting influence of money in our political system and desires that said convention should be so limited…”

Right, the text of the actual amendment will emerge from the convention, but the intent of the convention is stipulated and limited to this one subject from the start.
commented 2014-08-01 07:19:41 -0400 · Flag
Corporate personhood really doesn’t have that much to do with the money in politics issue. The 1st Amendment is a restriction on what Congress can do. If Congress could regulate speech by non-persons, they’re way more likely to use that massive power to target dissident groups or the media than to pass real campaign finance regulations.

(That said, I’m content to say call the Article V convention first, iron out the details of the text later.)
commented 2014-07-27 22:05:49 -0400 · Flag
I agree Kyle. Putting a level fundraising cap on every campaign would level the playing field, but unless it were very low, it would still allow politicians to raise more money than some of us can afford. Wouldn’t no private election funding be better?
commented 2014-07-27 15:04:22 -0400 · Flag
Wouldn’t limiting contributions from a single person allow the already rich to have an advantage? I feel like it would be better to limit the total amount a single campaign can raise rather than limit the amount a person could contribute.
commented 2014-07-23 18:14:04 -0400 · Flag
Carl, it’s not my intent to eliminate corporations entirely, just to clarify beyond any doubt that corporations and all legally organized groups of people are just that, organizations, and not the same thing as the people who comprise them. As such they should not have the same constitutional protections as living people have, but government may grant them privileges such as the ability to sue and be sued, etc. (and take those privileges away if it is deemed necessary).
commented 2014-07-23 18:05:38 -0400 · Flag
commented 2014-07-17 13:32:33 -0400 · Flag
Carl; Saying that “corporations are not people” would NOT eliminate all corporations. That’s absurd; and totally fails to advance this discussion, so what’s the point? Or; IS that the point?
commented 2014-07-14 22:37:36 -0400 · Flag
William – We would effectively eliminate all corporations if we say simply say that “Corporations are not people.” Only “people” may contract with other businesses, sue for the enforcement of legal rights, etc. I completely agree that corporations should not share all of the constitutional rights of human beings, particularly those found in the First Amendment. But, is it our intent to eliminate the corporation (and presumably any other entity with limited liability) entirely? I doubt that idea would garner the necessary support from three quarters of the states.
commented 2014-07-14 22:37:30 -0400 · Flag
William – We would effectively eliminate all corporations if we say simply say that “Corporations are not people.” Only “people” may contract with other businesses, sue for the enforcement of legal rights, etc. I completely agree that corporations should not share all of the constitutional rights of human beings, particularly those found in the First Amendment. But, is it our intent to eliminate the corporation (and presumably any other entity with limited liability) entirely? I doubt that idea would garner the necessary support from three quarters of the states.
commented 2014-07-14 21:08:46 -0400 · Flag
Carl: The reason we can’t contain or control corporations IS because they have the rights of persons. Corporate personhood IS the crux of the problem; after all this discussion and enlightenment, you still haven’t grasped the basic/central idea behind our struggle for the abolition of it. We’re pretty close to a unanimous majority on that point now. Why would you want to drag us all back to square one? Legal obstruction? More definitions of “is”? At some point we have to admit to our mistakes, make the correction, and move on! You can argue ‘til the cows come home, but corporations are NOT people! It’s really that simple. Now let’s just codify that simple fact into the Constitution in the sort of unambiguous terms that even our uneducated kids can understand.
commented 2014-07-12 16:18:20 -0400 · Flag
Have you considered joining efforts with www.ConventionOfStates.com who already have a few states under their belt. I know they are coming at it from a conservative side, but all proposed amendments are going to be brought up for a vote so it doesn’t matter if a progressive or conservative provoked the state to call the article V convention, it just matters that it was called.
commented 2014-07-10 13:41:59 -0400 · Flag
I support the general purpose of this amendment (to eliminate the ability of corporations to independently donate to political campaigns), but there is a collection of rights that the first sentence of the proposed amendment threatens that corporations should have as a legal person: those closely connected to their operations as commercial entities. For example, the right to sue and be sued, the right to enter into contracts, etc.

I argue that it is our inability to regulate corporations effectively (due to their ability to influence our politics) that is the problem, not the notion of the corporate person itself. But the corporation is a psychopath! You object. Yes, because it is a legal fiction set up solely to limit the liability of its investors to their invested capital. But its managers and owners are not psychopaths but people whose actions we can control as a society.
commented 2014-06-09 00:44:05 -0400 · Flag
Paul, It seems to me that “For anything to change, the” bought two-party political system has to change, not necessaryily the “economic system that underlies all the corporate money grabbing.” Free enterprise as an ecomonmic system is not the problem, a corrupt financial system that runs the governemnt is the problem. It is a monopoly that dictates all public policy and legislation. Greed has become the end goal, and not a healthy economy. Certainly McCutcheon makes it easier for greed to buy the system.
commented 2014-06-08 21:31:21 -0400 · Flag
Rich I believe the McCutcheon decision effectively raised the aggregate individual contribution limit per election cycle to $5.9 million, I’m told.

William, your recollection of the history of the “press” and the “news” sounds right to me too. But I would add that when TV first started, the deal was that the price we paid for TV was that the broadcasters would be permitted to air advertising (and get paid for it). The “deal” was that we would have to tolerate the ads because the programming was “free” (broadcast television: you put up an antenna and you can get all broadcast stations (and the ads) at no charge.)

Now we have to pay close to $100 a month for 699 channels of crap, and there are more commercials than ever! What happened to that deal?

“Might such a system then reverse the entire evolution of political campaigns back to the altruistic societal function our forefathers envisioned. " That sounds like a stretch to me. The original FCC deal under the economic structure we have now got us to the point where we are at today… the media make fortunes at our expense and we are the victims, left literally in the dark.

For anything to change, the economic system that underlies all the corporate money grabbing is what has to change.
commented 2014-06-08 06:46:40 -0400 · Flag
William it seems to me you put forth a pretty good history of the evolution of news coverage. It is corrpupted by advertising. Good ideas in your comments. Paul, maybe they want to lift the $2600 individual contritution limit on Congressioanal campaigns. Oh, is that already done by McCutcheon? Hard to keep up with the corruption supported by the Supreme court.
commented 2014-06-07 14:27:44 -0400 · Flag
Get a load of this (Came in today.): “WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican National Committee on Friday sued the Federal Election Commission for the ability to raise unlimited cash from individual donors.”

What does this even mean?!?!?!? I thought the McCutcheon decision already gave them that. Are we to believe that they don’t think $5.9 million per individual per election cycle is not enough?
commented 2014-06-07 09:33:55 -0400 · Flag
Can somebody help me out here? I’m a little fuzzy on the history of America’s Free Press and the traditions thereof. Weren’t local newspapers the original place to argue the merits (or scandals) relative to candidates’ fitness for public office? Then came radio and TV (which required a government license issued by FCC or such?) In exchange for those licenses, were they not required to broadcast a daily hour-long news program (thus operating a full -on news departments at their own expense. Did they not then bend that rule by selling advertising "space"on the “Evening News”? Is that not when the broadcast news veered away from news reporting ……….(just the facts mam) ……….to become a new form of entertainment, wherein news “anchors” got paid Hollywood salaries for telling The People what they wanted to hear and not what they needed to hear? Could we not go back to the original FCC deal and force broadcasting companies to to pay for the evening news out of their own pockets? Might such a system then reverse the entire evolution of political campaigns back to the altruistic societal function our forefathers envisioned. Like I said; the idea needs help in the explanation and I’m not the one to research a topic so rich in our heritage. It would be a great book (and it probably already is). Comments?
commented 2014-06-05 22:05:26 -0400 · Flag
Stephen, it might be more effective to tie political contribution limits to the median income level as it is an easily accessible and publicly known figure, just as Albert Amador has suggested, to a week’s pay at minimum wage. But either of these might, when multiplied by the number of taxpaying voters, result in either not enough money or more likely too much money flowing into an election. There must be a constitutionally decreed way of keeping any excess cash in the election till from being used by any candidate.

It’s clear to me that a constitutional amendment should not delegate these decisions to Congress, but must stipulate in the amendment itself who gets what so that Congress has little leeway in implementing the intent of the amendment.

This discussion has prompted me to think specifically about the issue of money in the political process: assuming that elections do cost money, specifically what is the fairest way to fund an election without allowing money to influence the outcome?

It seems that funding elections through taxation is simple, but potentially frought with pitfalls because it gives those currently in favor at any particular time an unfair advantage over those who are not unless a mechanism is put in place to level the playing field around the issue of how election monies collected through taxation are spent.

The easy part is how to pay for the rental and staffing of polling places, etc (the administration of an election), but it also costs money for candidates to make themselves and their positions known to the voters. What is the right number for this, how should it be distributed and what should be permitted? It’s easy to delegate these tough decisions to Congress. Candidates for office and legislatures have been responsible for election funding rules from the beginning. The Supreme Court has not helped, and look where that has gotten us.

I like to keep in mind when thinking about this that service in congress was intended by the Framers to be just that: service to which one offers him or herself in an unselfish manner yet does not deprive a legislator of necessary income, but seats in Congress were never intended to become seats of power to be fought for with millions by the wealthy, which is what they have become.

My thoughts for now…. I still have many unanswered questions.
commented 2014-06-05 12:36:58 -0400 · Flag
Would it not be more effective to tie the maximum allowed payments to the median income level? It would automatically adjust for inflation and hopefully improve the median income levels.
commented 2014-05-28 03:57:26 -0400 · Flag
Robert Walker. You are working toward the thinking that will eventually lead to the needed language in the CA. A public system has to be designed detail and all by the career incumbents in office. The details can lead anywhere, and they will. The corruption will be written in to the pulic campaign finance laws in such a way as to guarantee thecontinuance of the re-election of career incumbents over 99% of the time choose to run for re-election. The money must come only from the voters, as the only players in the system with no reason to maintain the corrupt system as it exists. Our only substantial disagreement is on the point of public financing. You are grappling with the issues effectively, thinking them through. A CA can apply to all Elections on the local, state, and federal levels. Hang in there. Your efforts are worthwhile.
commented 2014-05-28 03:37:52 -0400 · Flag
William Falberg, you make many good points in your last post. We have much reason for frustration at the corrupt two-party system and the power they are unlikely to give back to the people without a monumental effort. We can’t force them. We can persuade them that we will fire them if they do not solve our corruption caused problems. A huge task! Impossible? I hope not. If more than half the people took the pledge or elected people to replace D’sand R’s in a substantial amount, incumbents would have to see the writing on the wall. No choice but change must be their perception. The pledge: http://cs2pr.us/Voter_Pledge.html#99% , like shown below.

The constitution does not mention corporations, but the Pacific Railway case and case law since 1886 [sic] protects their rights (corporate personhood) consistently. Speech was equated with money in Buckley v Valeo in 1972 [sic] and has been supported with case law ever since. A lot of precedents have supported these problems for a very long time. That is a huge problem. We need an amendment to override the precedents in case law.

Both parties need to be treated like the self-serving entities they are. I am not sure they are incorporated as such. I just don’t know. They are their own self-serving self interests who support one another consistently. They are a 100% monopoly of our political system, a dictatorship in many ways, because they are a monopply.

Generating a consensus, like you state, is the problem, isn’t it? Yes, it is.
Frankly, it seems to me the Free Tools shown below may contain the means. http://cs2pr.us/FreeTools.html#Free . We need to create our own political system on our computer desktops to replace the bipartisan two-party system or to at least take their public office majority away from their career incumbents. Fire enough of them to persuade them to adopt the necessary changes to guarantee a more representive democratic republic.

The free tools are way out of the box and hard to wrap your arms around unless studied in a profound way. The tools are near completion. Final edits are underway. Very hard work. A completion date cannot be stated with certainty. I’ve been working on the projects for sixteen solid years.
It seems to me the tools may be the means to taking our country back for the common good.
commented 2014-05-27 13:29:05 -0400 · Flag
Thank you for clarifying that. I never envisioned my proposed CA being presented to the U S Congress, nor to any State legislatures, for that matter, so House rules won’t ever apply in any case. I wish I had saved an article I once read outlining a procedure whereby a certain majority of citizens could force state legislatures to present the US Congress with a proposed amendment, but my question at the time was: “Exactly what authority does a body of citizens need to be considered a Constitutional Convention?” Is there a minimum number, or percentage? (IIRC, there was.) If that’s true, you must be drawing some encouragement from the recent trend toward states-rights activism and the push-back being offered by state attorneys general in regard to the flood of federal usurpations of states’ rights in the past 6 years. I think Americans are beginning to see the inherent danger posed by all forms of over-centralized concentrations of power; both political and financial.
Nowhere does the Constitution mention corporations; but it does clearly refer to “the Press” as being vital to the function of a democratic republic. In that context I’d like you to reconsider your phrase about freedom of the Press. Let’s define “the Press” as it exists today and “The Press” as it existed in 1787 . The "press’ in those days was comprised of hundreds of local/ main street entrepreneurs with their own ideas about how the country should be run, and by whom. Collectively, I suppose, they represented the voice of the average American and criticized the political establishment accordingly. Politicians who ignored “the Press” probably didn’t last very long in office.
Today, however, “the Press” is comprised of a few and ever diminishing number of traditional print newspapers, big-city TV stations, and cable companies. They’re all corporations; they’re all profit -driven. They’re immensely powerful because they have a monopoly on what news and information gets distributed to the People. They control how Americans spend their money and who they vote for. While ya’ll go on about campaign financing you should ask yourselves how much it cost to get a whole staff of cable news anchors and contributors to endorse the candidacy of a fellow neo-feudal aritsocrat for an entire electoral cycle 24/7; year in and year out. When you think about the Press as a tool of said neo-feudal government, the last thing you want is for them to have “untouchable” status under the Constitution. Maybe we could substitute “free investigative journalists” or “free scholastic publication’’ or ’free political reporting” to separate the constitutionally vital human journalists from the politically ambitious, monopolistic, and manipulative corporate executives behind them with the carrot and the stick.
Here’s the Big Dilema we now face and must correct with a draconian CA: I think we have 120 years of corporate news and educational publication to re-write before Americans will understand the true beauty and wisdom incorporated in the constitution of the United States of America and take responsibility for maintaining it (i.e. initiating a Constitutional Convention). It hurts to say : BUT, it wasn’t perfect. They forgot to erect the legal firewall between Business and State like they did between Church and State. (Same reason: they corrupt each other.)

PS: Both major political Parties need to be treated like the corporations they are and regulated mercilessly by a well regulated militia. It would be a good place to start if we had the means to generate sufficient consensus amongst ourselves. That’s the dilema, isn’t it?
commented 2014-05-27 11:24:38 -0400 · Flag
Any Constitutional Amendment adopted would probably apply only to Federal Elections. An amendment providing for public financing would be better than the bribery system that we have now, but I would like to keep the Government out of our lives as much as we can. I think we need an Amendment that: 1. Restricts political donors to being Registered Voters. This means no corporate donors, no union donors and no PAC donors. AND 2. Sets a cap on the size a donation can be with some kind of allowance for inflation and/or deflation. AND 3. Requires prompt, complete and public disclosure of all donations received by candidates.
commented 2014-05-27 07:46:01 -0400 · Flag
Paul, Public financing will have all the details framed by legislatures. No other way to set up any system of public finance. It will not appear out of thin air. Legislatures are controlled by what I consider to be a very corrupt bipartisan two-party system. Therefore I see no hope of them setting up a less corrupt campaign finance system public or private. The larger problem and first in line for solution is to fire all the D and R career incumbent public office holders. We all need to take a pledge to do so. 80% of people do not bother to vote, or even register to vote. We have given up participating in elections. Take the pledge, http://cs2pr.us/Voter_Pledge.html#99% , as a first step to clean up the legislatures in order to have any hope of clean elections. Elect nonpartisan and minor party candidates to solve the chronic problems caused by a corrupt system bought by special interests.

The confusion is in existing Constitutional law and resultant case law over the past 120 years. To have equal political speech it must come from the only people we can trust to not have any vested interest in the continuation of the corruption, voters, citizens like you and me. Take the bill of rights and equal protection under the law away from artificial legal entities, so that only natural citizens are protected by the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment. The only people I can trust to make change happen is the American people. Voters must be given the power to elect people to public office who will represent them and solve the problems ignored for decades by the corrupt two-party system. Fire D’s and R’s. Kick them all out. I have twenty years into working steadily on that problem. Congressional incumbents will never shoot themselves in the foot except under extreme pressure from the people. Fire them and they will pay attention to our problems. There are excellent solutions to every problem.The solutions are ignored to satisfy the financial needs of special interests. Free tools is another one of my political writing projects, http://cs2pr.us/free_tools.html . The CA is my top priority as I know the right CA will change everything in politics to a more democratic republic for everyone, for the people.
commented 2014-05-27 06:29:53 -0400 · Flag
william Falberg, the form it must take to be introduced in Congress is a Joint Resolution, that must be passed by 2/3 of both houses. See Article V of the Constitution. If passed by 2/3 of the states in conventions, it would probably be written in a similar form to be accepted into law by the Congress to formalize adoption of the resolution on a date certain. I wrote my proposal in the Joint Resolution format last year in a pdf. I am not certain that it has my latest edits, not sure, but you can see the format here: http://cs2pr.us/CitizensUSHouseJointRes.pdf . Some minor edits are not done at this point. I created a html today of my proposed text, with some explanation of the language, inspired by some of the questions arising from our conversations on this on this thread. http://cs2pr.us/28th_AmendText.html . By the way I am a retired draftsman who served as a Special Agent in Army intelligence for a few years. I am a college grad, but am a working guy who worked for hourly pay and overtime. I have been writing on political reformmatters for over 20 years. I am beginning to get the hang of it a little. I am looking to improve my proposed CA. Many heads are better than one, mine.
commented 2014-05-26 15:15:59 -0400 · Flag
When you live in a world where black is white it’s easy to confuse “edit” with “discredit” but most folks use words the way they’re used by most folks. That’s how we can talk and write and be understood by each other. Most folks would interpret “interference” to mean “interference”. That’s the beauty of having a common language. Most folks , excluding yourself and I presume most other corporate lawyers, would find that a relatively clear and simple concept. At the risk of sounding snide, I’ll leave it at that.

In your mind, does the Constitution have any meaning? Has it ever changed anything; or has it always been too easy to “get around” for you? Is this all just word games? Am/are I/we wasting our time talking to you? (That’a a simple yes/no question.)
commented 2014-05-26 13:15:49 -0400 · Flag
William, snide remarks and name-calling will not accomplish anything constructive. Please stop.

If you expect to have any chance at all of passage, I believe you will have to completely re-write your proposal so it does not attempt to legislate and does not attempt to dictate the behavior of private citizens. This issue of the constitution dictating private behavior is where I had to back away from my own idealized vision of the role of business & money in society in general, change I personally would like to see. But thus far, no constitutional amendment that hasn’t been revoked (prohibition failed) has done that. Being the first to do that poses a new and uncharted challenge.

If you actually want to see your text accepted as an amendment to the constitution, I believe your challenge will be to do that in a way that does not dilute your intentions, yet is also acceptable to 3/4 of the state legislatures, or it will fail to become an amendment. You may not care whether what you want becomes a constitutional amendment or not. If not, that’s your right but this discussion is a waste of time. But if you actually hope to achieve passage, I believe you will have to deal with a number of issues. Not the least of which is the attempt here to dictate private behavior as opposed to dictating how the government should behave, which is what the 27 existing amendments address.

Here’s what you posted (my comments IN CAPS):
“28th Amendment

Corporations are not persons in any sense of the word and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. [PROBLEM: MEMBERS OF CONGRESS MAY BE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN THEWELL-BEING OF THE PEOPLE”. BUT I BELIEVE THE MAJORITY ARE MOST INTERESTED IN THE WELL-BEING OF THEIR PRIMARY FUNDERS (BIG DONERS, NOT THE AVERAGE VOTER.] Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; [“ACCORDING TO THEIR PURPOSECOULD MEAN ANYTHING. EITHER YOU MUST DEFINE AN ACCEPTABLE CORPORATE CHARTER IN A THIS CA, OVERRIDING ALL EXISTING STATE LAW ALREADY DEFINING AND REGULATING CORP CHARTERS.] which shall include, but are not limited to:
1, prohibitions against any corporation;
a, owning another corporation, [EASY TO GET AROUND]
b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or [VAGUE]
c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
2, prohibitions against any form of interference in the affairs of;
a, government, [VAGUE]
b, education, or [VAGUE]
c, news media, and [VAGUE]
3, provisions for;
b, the establishment of a state and municipal-owned banking system
c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives for violation of the terms of a corporate charter. [HAS BEEN LAW FOR DECADES, AND EXISTING LAWS HAVE FAILED TO STOP THIS KIND OF CHEATING. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU EMBODY SOMETHING IN A CA, THAT SUDDENLY ALL THE CHEATING WILL STOP?]

commented 2014-05-26 10:35:44 -0400 · Flag
I suggest you try editing my amendment because I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. What “form” is acceptable? (and “acceptable” to whom?) Did some secret new government bureau publish secret new rules for officially sanctioned government lawyers to propose amendments? For Whom? Congress? On what authority? Should I add the part about: “2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”? Does that make it official?
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