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 2014-09-24 01:13:48 -0400 · Flag
Take away corporate rights and you don’t get conservative governments, or liberal governments; you get Constitutional Government: and it don’t walk into ANYone’s place of business without good cause, ie. the good of the People it represents. Political Parties would be the FIRST corporations I’d like to see shut down, but that would be for the States to decide; Constitutionally !
commented 2014-09-23 14:47:25 -0400 · Flag
There is a major flaw in your idea: You take away ALL constitutional rights, which includes search & seizure and due process. Without these rights, a conservative government could walk into ANY liberal organization (profit or non-profit), seize its assets, and then shut it down. And all without having to explain themselves or provide just compensation. You need to be very careful when you start messing with the Constitution because one wrong wording can change everything. Go back to the drawing board and re-write it.
commented 2014-09-02 22:28:22 -0400 · Flag
Hi Matt and thanks for replying. I agree that your 7 recommended solutions are good ones, but wonder if they are too specific to be acceptable as text for a constitutional amendment. Does your solution need to be worded more broadly so it can’t be viewed as more suitable for legislation than for a constitutional amendment? Does an amendment need to be written in simple language that declares only the moral underpinnings of what any legislation that implements it must look like?
commented 2014-09-02 12:47:03 -0400 · Flag
To Paul. That is why I said “recommended solutions”.
commented 2014-09-01 15:39:31 -0400 · Flag
Jaimie, I agree totally that campaign spending & money-raising limits should not be left up to Congress. And that those limits should be specified in the 28th amendment to an amount equal to a week’s pay at the federal minimum wage.
commented 2014-09-01 13:03:49 -0400 · Flag
To William, Francis, Lipo and Matt: Given that Wolf-Pac’s declared intent is to NOT proposed amendment text at this stage, but only to GET an Article V convention on the subject of limiting the influence of money in the political process, and to trust that the Article V convention will produce the best amendment, I’m not sure I understand comments about how “this resolution” will not suffice. Which resolution are you referring to?

I’m certainly open to a free-form intermingling of ideas on the subject , which is where this conversation seems to be headed. And that’s fine with me.
commented 2014-08-27 19:25:49 -0400 · Flag
Dear WolfPAC, While the 28th Amendment is both necessary and a tremendous step forward in the fight for balance in our representative democracy, it falls short of addressing some of the very worst factors affecting the country. Below are my recommended solutions for consideration in the planned 28th Amendment: 1 – Make lobbying (i.e. bribing elected officials where value changes hands to vote a particular way or introduce particular legislation) illegal with a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison 2 – Require that all campaigns and political parties be financed from a single pool of money that is equally distributed to all candidates for a particular office 3 – Equal funding and laws for additional political parties 4 – Term limits of 2 terms for all elected officials but extending the terms to 5 years each. This also includes eliminating the lifetime appointments of Supreme Court Justices and making them appointed for 20 year maximum terms with no renewals. 5 – Elimination of the electoral college requiring that the majority vote be the only deciding factor in an election. 6 – Congressional Districts are calculated based on an equal-distant geometric division of an area based only on population density. 7 – Defining people and their associated rights as living human beings and not corporations. Sincerely, Hopeful Citizen
commented 2014-08-21 20:50:31 -0400 · Flag
I like the comment about let’s not go back to square one and re-debate the end goal that the 28th should codify in law that corporations are not people . Perhaps We will need to redefine what they are and which rights and privileges they do/do not enjoy. While the constitutional amendments so far address what the govt. can/ can’t do it is high time to enshrine rules regarding “free enterprise”. I believe that is the common belief that propels our endeavor. And I don’t believe it should necessarily be up to Congress to decide the campaign finance rules. Maybe that needs to be enshrined in the 28th as well, but in some way that allows for amounts to be determined by current. ..median income (good idea that) or some reasonable peg to any citizens abiliity to have equal influence on elections
commented 2014-08-21 12:38:35 -0400 · Flag
The proposed amendment would permit Congress and the state to regulate ALL political speech, whether from corporations or individuals. Goodbye freedom of speech.
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
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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.
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