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 2014-05-19 01:05:09 -0400 · Flag
You raise an interesting question, Paul: Who said a corporate charter has to be fair to all parties? The only parties we care about are the human ones. That’s really the whole point here, isn’t it?
commented 2014-05-18 21:54:56 -0400 · Flag
William, Aidan, Noah, Matthias, Salvador, Dan:

It seems to me that you are all arguing over stuff that is either already in place (and has been demonstrated NOT to work) or that cannot be corrected by any of the proposals mentioned here. Lawyers have been “clouding men’s minds with legal psychobabble” (to use William’s words) ever since the constitution was written.

The long and the short of the whole issue is that unless and until the Constitution, through an Amendment, defines ALL the responsibilities of any legal organization to the society in which it exists in a way that is balanced and fair to all parties concerned, we will be stuck with the unworkable economic paradigm that we’ve had in place for 250 years. The free-market capitalism of “everyone out for him/herself” with government regulation to (supposedly, but not effectively) ensure that there is no cheating going on is little more than a “Cat-and-mouse” game…. business exploits a loophole for its own gain at the expense of some party, government regulates abuse, and business finds a loophole to get around the regulation…

This country has outgrown its need for free-market capitalism and needs to transition to a more mature and balanced economic system. If I knew exactly how such a system would work, I would expound on it. but I don’t know. I’m not an economist; I’m an electrician. I can say however that the transition must begin with a constitutional amendment to serve as guide-post.

Wolf-Pac has the best strategy to ensure that a constitutional convention on the subject of money in politics is actually convened. But the substance of any proposed amendment is yet to be heard. There are lots of proposals floating about on the Internet, but none of them count. The only ones that will count are those that are to be proposed at a constitutional convention that is actually convened in Washington for the purpose of proposing amendments to the constitution.

In my opinion, any proposed constitutional amendment addressing the issue of money must go further than the influence of money on the electoral process. It must require the charter for all organizations of people to bind an organization to principles of operation that are fair to all concerned parties.
commented 2014-05-15 22:40:38 -0400 · Flag
Aidan: That’s exactly what my wording should accomplish for us; i.e. hold the executives responsible for upholding the terms of a corporate charter. Should I post it again?
commented 2014-05-15 22:29:41 -0400 · Flag
If we end corporate personhood, the corporations become zombies: above the law and difficult to kill. You gotta shoot them in the head, i.e. put their executives in prison.
commented 2014-05-15 15:41:05 -0400 · Flag
What about unicorns and gyrewolves?
commented 2014-05-15 15:16:28 -0400 · Flag
What about non-corporate lobby groups?
commented 2014-05-09 19:21:01 -0400 · Flag
Problem with the first section is that it might take away the rights of the ACLU, the EFF, Greenpeace, and other nonprofits to conduct their campaigns, while reaffirming the draconian privileges granted to the United States Olympic Committee. Though those might be nullified as well, which is a good thing.
commented 2014-05-07 16:26:55 -0400 · Flag
Here’s the alternative I would suggest:

(I) No corporation, union, church, or other organized institution of human persons, foreign or domestic, with the sole exception of domestic governmental bodies subject to democratic control, may by law or lawful action of the United States Government or the governments of the States be granted any right equal to or surpassing a right of natural persons individually or severally.
(II) No officer or employee of the United States Government shall accept any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any persons individually or severally, or corporation, union, church, or other organized institution, foreign or domestic, with the sole exception of domestic governmental bodies, without the consent of Congress.
(III) Funds donated for the purpose of influencing elections or government decisions shall not be taxed or regulated when given by natural persons, individually or severally. Funds donated for the purpose of influencing elections or government decisions shall be prohibited when given by corporations, unions, churches, or other organized institutions, with the sole exception of domestic institutions organized for that purpose and funded only by donations from natural persons.
(IV) Public funding shall be provided for each United States federal election as conducted in each state, in an amount equal to twice the expenditure of private funds spent for the same election in that state, distributed equally to all candidates on that state’s ballot for that election.
(V) All United States elections shall use either Approval Voting with districts or open-list Proportional Representation without districts.
(VI) Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Summary: The first part says what we mean by “corporations aren’t people”. The second part bans the revolving door between government and big business. The third part guarantees free political speech for real people but bans it for corporations. The fourth part ensures that public funding is more important that private funds in elections. The fifth part breaks elections free from the “money=votes” system by requiring one of the only two kinds of voting that mathematically guarantee that the right voting strategy is to vote for your favorite candidate.
commented 2014-05-07 00:41:49 -0400 · Flag
But what if, as said once earlier, Congress guts the provisions so that they don’t serve their purpose and wind up harming individuals and small business?
commented 2014-05-06 22:31:36 -0400 · Flag
What about unions?
commented 2014-05-06 21:45:34 -0400 · Flag
@aidan: None of the actions suggested here would have any effect whatever on small corporations
commented 2014-05-06 21:30:12 -0400 · Flag
I fear this might adversely affect small businesses that don’t get involved in politics. Our targets are the big corporations that do lobby.
commented 2014-05-06 21:14:01 -0400 · Flag
@dan: “Simply removing corporate personhood is a terrible idea, it needs to be REPLACED”. At last, we find common ground. Yes; we have to decide how, as a society, we’re going to sanction non-human legal entities in such a way that they benefit society and can’t be used to concentrate financial or political power in the hands of unscrupulous predators. I think corporate charters deserve as much attention as the Constitution itself. I think my version is a good start insofar as prohibiting ANY U.S. corporation from participating in the conduct of government at any level. We could certainly add more universal “shalt-not’s” to the list of things artificially incorporated entities are forbidden to engage in, like publishing historical material of any kind or any kind of textbook. If certain prohibitions were included in every charter, according to the nature of the business, and it was a crime to violate the terms of such a corporate charter, it would be far easier to impose regulation on big corporations because the individual managers would have clear-cut legal guidelines to adhere to. Wouldn’t that make life simpler? No more Grays between the black and white. Let’s start with the central banks; what Prohibitions do the majority here think would be appropriate for ALL banks to be limited to? Should banks be allowed to own other banks? What would be an allowable reserve ratio? WE could answer ALL those sort of questions before a bank is ever sanctioned as a legal entity. Any manager that over-stepped the charter’s terms would be guilty of a very specific crime (and a new one in historical terms); the crime of “violating a corporate charter” . And they could be as draconian or mild as society makes them. But there would be logic, order, and consistency in the process. Wouldn’t that be a great place to start dismantling 300 years of Aristocratic business law? It should all go back to Latin anyhow.
commented 2014-05-06 17:32:53 -0400 · Flag
@william falberg That lawyers rationalize it that way is the problem, since laws are interpreted by lawyers and judges. Lawyers have been using that reasoning for over 150 years to justify why contracts corporations enter in are legally binding, why corporations can be sued, why property owned by an organization has protection from government intrusion, and a host of other issues that need to be considered. Simply removing corporate personhood is a terrible idea, it needs to be REPLACED.

However, the fact remains that corporate personhood is a complex issue that is only slightly related to electoral corruption. Focusing on corporate personhood and not even addressing the silly “money is speech” crap that in no way benefits citizens is the wrong way to go about getting money out of politics.

Complaining about how lawyers view things and wishing that the world worked differently is fine up to a point, but now that states are pushing forward it’s time to address reality and propose a version that would actually get money out of politics.

Wolf-PACs suggested amendment paves the way for corrupt politicians to drop the campaign reform section and just push an end to corporate personhood, which wouldn’t get money out of politics or help citizens, but would convince far too many people that the problem was solved.
commented 2014-05-06 16:28:33 -0400 · Flag
Who but a lawyer would attempt to rationalize a simple legal contract (i.e; corporate charter) in anthropomorphic terms rather than create a new class of legal entity and define that entity in terms of an artificial legal construct. Making analogies between humans and legal abstracts is guaranteed to totally cloud men’s minds with legal psychobabble; so, of course it’s going to evolve into the highly nuanced , subtle and arcane line of BS that you can spend hour after exorbitant hour debating with each other. What I’m saying is: instead of trying to compare individual peoples’ rights and responsibilities with organizations’ rights and responsibilities we create a separate class of legal entity that can sue and be sued, enter into contracts, etc. but that have no other human attributes to confuse those keen legal minds into thinking they have other constitutional rights like humans. The definition of “corporation” really needs to go beyond " a legal abstraction created by the various States" to define what all it actually comprises. Would you define human beings as “featherless bipeds”? Let’s get beyond describing what a corporation is NOT; We know what they aren’t; they’re not human.
commented 2014-05-06 14:39:42 -0400 · Flag
@william Falberg
It’s funny, here I am explaining how corporate personhood is more complex and nuanced than you and TYT treat it, and you are accusing ME of black and white thinking. Check the mirror, I’m talking about shades of gray and all you can see is black.

You aren’t making the basic effort to even read what I have written. You’ve simply decided that because I recognize that corporate personhood is a complex issue, you know everything else about my views, and are responding to what you think I am saying rather than what I actually said.

I am advocating for more regulation on corporations than you are. Removing corporate personhood without understanding all the regulations and laws that depend on it is dangerous, and the version proposed above points towards in the wrong direction. We should be focusing on election reform and ending the terrible “money is speech” bullshit.

Keep on believing that you are right and ignore all evidence and facts to the contrary. God forbid you learn facts or change your views on something. I guess your willful ignorance is more important to you than actually reigning in corporations.
commented 2014-05-06 11:04:51 -0400 · Flag
@dan:Who are you trying to BS? Any attempt at regulation is already toothless. I think what you’re trying to say is that less is more and good is evil. I’ll further add that black is white and faster is slower just to show I understand your philosophical viewpoint. Wink-wink.
commented 2014-05-06 07:03:41 -0400 · Flag
@william Falberg: no, actually by removing corporate personhood you are helping corporations get away with illegal actions and making nearly all regulations toothless. Without the legal fiction of corporate personhood, corporations cannot be sued. If you think such an arrangement is in the interest of the public you are insane.

I suggest you actually research the reasons why we have the corporate personhood in the first place. Corporate personhood is a complex issue with only a minor connection to voting rights and election corruption. It should not be the focus of any proposed amendment. Plus, the syntax of their version doesn’t match the syntax of constitutional amendments, and having a hard dollar-level limit will never be included in a final version as adjusting it in the future would require a 2/3rds majority.

While clearly any final version will be altered, include language that would disempower citizens and leaving the entire wording and limits such that it will be changed by corrupt politicians elected under the current system is dangerous. I would much rather a more solid and voting-focus proposal be endorsed, such as:

“Voting being the foundation of democracy, the right of citizens to vote shall not be infringed upon for any reason. To ensure fair and free elections, all elections must be publicly financed, with contributions from any person or entity limited to 1% of national median income for the previous year.

In recognition of the fact that money is currency not speech and while corporations, unions, and nonprofits have the same obligations as citizens they do not necessarily have the same rights as citizens, such entities are not allowed to give money to any political campaign nor can they fund ads endorsing or attacking any politician."

While the individual limit would be higher (1% is about $520 right now) having a set limit that increases the more the wealth gap closes would serve to encourage politicians to increase the median wage, while providing a limit that will adjust for inflation automatically rather than require editing the constitution every time would also be beneficial.

In addition, this version would provide a constitutional guarantee of the right to vote, ending voting suppression efforts. It would also provide a more comprehensive ban on political influence from third-party organizations while preserving corporate liability. Currently, while ads running in favor of politicians are banned ads attacking politicians were allowed, which in a two party system floods the airwaves with attack ads that end up directly endorsing one candidate.

Regardless of how you feel about corporate personhood, we should be pushing for voting rights and election reform, NOT focusing on such a complex and thorny issue.
commented 2014-05-05 10:24:59 -0400 · Flag
@dan: Take your time Dan, think it through. You’ll find a deterrent somewhere in there; eventually. Meanwhile, the rest of us are trying to hold corporate managers responsible for illegal actions in behalf of their legal abstraction. I can’t believe there’s another Romney in the world.
commented 2014-05-03 18:45:54 -0400 · Flag
@william falberg that is exactly the current system allowed with corporate personhood. The company as a whole is fined for crimes the company commits, affecting every employee, stockholder, and subcontractor. Removing corporate personhood without creating a new way to hold companies liable for breaking the law would undermine every regulation that exists today.
commented 2014-05-03 17:56:05 -0400 · Flag
@robert walker
yap
@william Falberg
nope. Everything would have to be taken in to account (so i agree with you both), its just like how english works: to get your specific point across it takes brains & time, without either of those things your message has a high chance of being misinterpreted.
commented 2014-05-03 15:46:17 -0400 · Flag
lol publicly financed? what a joke. I can see the corporations & union limits but private individuals have the right to spend as much money on anything they want. Anything stopping this is 100% illegal & bogus.
commented 2014-05-03 11:50:22 -0400 · Flag
@dan LalaLande: "you need only prove that a company knowingly broke the law to hold the entire company accountable. " I like that idea. We not only fine every employee, but every stockholder and subcontractor and we can throw them all in jail for tax or accounting fraud as well as political interference. Does that include deliberate political mis-information and journalistic sponsorship of propaganda favoring their own special interest to skim the nation’s wealth and cheat the Treasury? What about the janitor? Throw him in jail, too? If a corporation commits treason or enters us into a war, can we just shoot them all? Some things might be hard to prove. Who’s going to make the effort to prosecute? Another corporation? Sorry; but corpocentric reasoning leaves me with more questions than answers. I think we also need to re-examinine how SCOTUS is selected. Exactly HOW are they insulated from politics?
commented 2014-05-03 11:43:16 -0400 · Flag
We need to keep the government out of our lives as much as possible, so elections should not be publicly financed if “publicly financed” means government. The 28th Amendment should 1. Restrict political donors to being registered voters. (no corporate donors, no PAC donors. Why should an entity that can not vote be able to contribute?) and 2. Set a cap on the size a donation can be. (yes account for inflation) and 3. Require prompt, complete and public disclosure of all donations received. Besides both major political parties fighting a 28th Amendment, the media would do everything they could to kill it because much less money would be spent on political advertising. The smucks running for office might have to go back to shaking hands on the street corner and knocking on doors.
commented 2014-05-03 09:25:52 -0400 · Flag
@paul – removing corporate personhood would not address the influence of money in politics. Worse than just not solving the problem it is supposed to it creates new problems by removing one of the key methods of holding corporations accountable for crimes.

With corporate personhood, you need only prove that a company knowingly broke the law to hold the entire company accountable. Without it, you can only punish whatever individuals you can prove were involved, which means management is nearly impossible to indict and corporations wouldn’t even get a slap on the wrist fine.

What is needed to actually end corruption is a stop to the “money as speech” legal reasoning as well as a fix of the speech and debate clause of the constitution that Roberts is abusing to limit the definition of bribery. Corporations having free speech wouldn’t be a problem if money was not considered speech.

By addressing the legal precedent of corporate personhood which has both positive and negative aspects while leaving behind the far more damaging legal precedents of money as speech and nearly all evidence of bribery being inadmissible in court, this would only make the problems of corruption worse. The evidence that could be used in bribery cases would remain nearly nonexistent and legal challenges to campaign limits would come down to a fight between the first and 28th amendment if money is still considered speech, which leaves enough room for another 5-4 supreme court ruling.

The first two sentences are dangerous and pointless, and if they get put into a final amendment it would be disastrous. It is really frustrating to see how much focus is being put on corporate personhood while the real issues are ignored.
commented 2014-05-02 12:51:24 -0400 · Flag
I understood the link after taking in to account various things, most notably are:
1. People will always try to get what they want without thinking fully how to get it.
2. Because of no.1, confusion, lies & rummours are spread.
3. Its no secret that people who hold a lot of money hold a lot of power, those that hold a lot of power hold a lot of influence. Influence is the most powerful thing a person can have.
4. Could someone brush me up on what Amendments actually do? From what i know they set rights / laws that are permanately in place and in full effect.
5. If no.5 is true then Id love for an amendment that takes care of Americas internet bandwidth caps.
commented 2014-05-02 05:23:09 -0400 · Flag
Dan: unless and until the influence of money in political campaigns is removed, people can and will continue to give money to politicians, and expect the politician to defend their interests in return. This is legalized bribery, and it’s what you and everyone says has to stop. Agreed, making a legal distinction between legal entities and the people who run them does not by itself solve the problem. I don’t think anyone argues that and that’s why all the 28th amendment language you see out there calls not only for a distinction between corps and people, but that monetary influence be removed from the election process. How to successfully achieve that goal is clearly the big question.
commented 2014-05-02 00:48:14 -0400 · Flag
The first two sentences need to be removed for two reasons:

1. The problem is not that corporations can give money to politicians the same way people can, the problem is that PEOPLE can legally bribe politicians! Removing corporate personhood, particularly since the McCutcheon ruling, wouldn’t fix the problem.

2. Corporate personhood was originally created to give corporations the same legal obligations as people. Removing corporate personhood without addressing that makes corporations nearly impossible to regulate or litigate.

Instead, we should be pushing for wording blocking the concept of money as speech. That would not only solve the same corruption problem as removing corporate personhood without the downside, it would also address bribery from individuals.
commented 2014-04-29 21:07:23 -0400 · Flag
Aidan: I’m sorry but I found the article at the link you posted difficult to understand. Honestly, I don’t know what the author is trying to say! So therefore I cannot comment on whether we should move in the direction he is describing or not.

I very much like these words of yours, “However, the law needs to be changed so that corporations are obligated not only to their shareholders but to all of their stakeholders, including employees, consumers, and Mother Nature.”
commented 2014-04-29 00:06:21 -0400 · Flag
We obviously need different and separate kind kinds of laws to govern corporate entities because they can and do commit crimes that would be hard to define in human terms. Most people couldn’t relate to an accounting crime. But if a corporation’s accounting rules were determined by The People and laid out unambiguously in a binding charter, any executive who violated those rules could be found guilty of THAT, a crime in itself, and a crime that any jury COULD relate to. The trouble with our current system is that you can’t understand how the crimes are being committed unless you’re an accountant. It’s like turning the lights on in a roach-infested kitchen.
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