28th Amendment

"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 the legislators in the right direction and make sure the final amendment accomplishes the goals we have outlined here.   

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commented 2011-10-20 03:14:00 -0400 · Flag
This is great, however in section 6 you haven’t defined at all when referring to an ‘entity’ who within that entity would be punishable. I also think that entities should be punished differently to people as it’s not a person and therefore can not hold office therefore making the first of the two punishments redundant. So really, I believe you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ from one another so that it becomes clear how they can be dealt with if found guilty of said crime.

Also if a citizen were to just contribute a cent over the minimum they are required to serve a 10 year sentence which I think is almost as bad as the three strike policy, although there is a very good reason why you stated that a 10 year sentence would be mandatory there really must be some way to scale the crime to the punishment. So really again you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ and scale ‘citizens’ to the crime. At least in my opinion.
commented 2011-10-20 03:13:58 -0400 · Flag
This is great, however in section 6 you haven’t defined at all when referring to an ‘entity’ who within that entity would be punishable. I also think that entities should be punished differently to people as it’s not a person and therefore can not hold office therefore making the first of the two punishments redundant. So really, I believe you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ from one another so that it becomes clear how they can be dealt with if found guilty of said crime.

Also if a citizen were to just contribute a cent over the minimum they are required to serve a 10 year sentence which I think is almost as bad as the three strike policy, although there is a very good reason why you stated that a 10 year sentence would be mandatory there really must be some way to scale the crime to the punishment. So really again you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ and scale ‘citizens’ to the crime. At least in my opinion.
commented 2011-10-20 03:13:58 -0400 · Flag
This is great, however in section 6 you haven’t defined at all when referring to an ‘entity’ who within that entity would be punishable. I also think that entities should be punished differently to people as it’s not a person and therefore can not hold office therefore making the first of the two punishments redundant. So really, I believe you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ from one another so that it becomes clear how they can be dealt with if found guilty of said crime.

Also if a citizen were to just contribute a cent over the minimum they are required to serve a 10 year sentence which I think is almost as bad as the three strike policy, although there is a very good reason why you stated that a 10 year sentence would be mandatory there really must be some way to scale the crime to the punishment. So really again you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ and scale ‘citizens’ to the crime. At least in my opinion.
commented 2011-10-20 03:13:56 -0400 · Flag
This is great, however in section 6 you haven’t defined at all when referring to an ‘entity’ who within that entity would be punishable. I also think that entities should be punished differently to people as it’s not a person and therefore can not hold office therefore making the first of the two punishments redundant. So really, I believe you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ from one another so that it becomes clear how they can be dealt with if found guilty of said crime.

Also if a citizen were to just contribute a cent over the minimum they are required to serve a 10 year sentence which I think is almost as bad as the three strike policy, although there is a very good reason why you stated that a 10 year sentence would be mandatory there really must be some way to scale the crime to the punishment. So really again you need to separate ‘entities’ and ‘citizens’ and scale ‘citizens’ to the crime. At least in my opinion.
commented 2011-10-20 03:13:02 -0400 · Flag
@Ted I agree about the Supreme Court. I had thought that perhaps people should Occupy the Supreme Court because within the last month or two I believe some in congress sent a letter to Eric Holder asking him to investigate Justice Clarence Thomas and they were floating the idea that he should retroactively recuse himself from the Citizen’s United case which would make it fail… no amendment needed. I gather that was a serious long shot. I know Cornel West was just arrested on the Supreme Court steps but it would be sweet if the Occupy movement could bring some attention there.
commented 2011-10-20 03:03:43 -0400 · Flag
@Tim If we combine all the groups, and the different occupy movements around the country under one voice that would be awsome! There would be a need for some type of organization and we would need a leader or maybe a board, but if all the wrinkes get spread we could have a very well oiled movement on our hands.
commented 2011-10-20 02:59:31 -0400 · Flag
@Lam to words Epic Awsomeness! That sounds like a very good idea, as I sais with Martin’s idea earlier its straight foward and to the pont.
commented 2011-10-20 02:58:56 -0400 · Flag
Daniel, Lauren, I’m glad Daniel posted the proposed amendment from GetMoneyOut. It is more consistent with my preference for making all federal campaign contributions unconstitutional, making campaigns publicly financed. But I do agree that all of these groups should band together and compromise on differences like this. It’s better to unite in power than to fragment and be impotent. Come to think of it, USDayOfRage.org has a similar goal; its slogan is “One Citizen. One Dollar. One Vote.” And it aims to get the spirit of that written into a constitutional amendment. We need a champion to bring us all together and our forces to bear. It’s clear that our current politicians and parties aren’t interested.
commented 2011-10-20 02:50:16 -0400 · Flag
Thanks for that reply, Ryan. You might be right about the intention. If so, I think that clause, too, should be written with more clarity. I would prefer completely publicly funded federal campaigns, with all qualifying candidates receiving equal amounts, per office sought. But I could also get behind how you are interpreting it, being written as reasonably and as bulletproof as possible.
commented 2011-10-20 02:48:58 -0400 · Flag
Hey guys, I read every comment and incorporated ideas which I thought were best into another draft of this amendment. I added in some things too which I’ll explain after I copy-paste this from my Word doc.


Sec 1. Corporations, funds, trusts, and like entities, hereafter referred to as ‘entities’, shall not have rights as ‘persons’ within the meaning of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. No such entities may offer any form of gift or compensation or favors to any candidate for, or holder of, any elected office, hereafter referred to as ‘candidate’; or those appointed, hereafter referred to as ‘appointee’ to such an office.

Sec 2. No appointee to any office of any government body shall be permitted to receive any form of gift or compensation from any entities or citizen of the United States of America save their duly awarded salary from said government body.

Sec 3. No candidate for or holder of any elected office shall be permitted to receive more than one half of one percent of the average income of the bottom fifty percent of all citizens of the United States of America* twenty-one years old or older in contributions of any form, for any purpose, from any singular citizen of the United States of America during the same election cycle.

Sec 4. No candidate for any elected office shall be permitted for any purpose to receive or spend contributions totally a value of more than twenty-five thousand percent of the median income of households in the United States of America** at the Municipal level of government; fifty thousand percent at the State level; and one hundred thousand percent at the Federal level during the same election cycle.

Sec 5. Failure of any candidate for, or appointee to, any governmental office to comply with these constraints and regulations shall be punishable by forbiddance from holding any form of governmental office in the United States of America for the rest of their life and no less than fifteen years in Federal prison.

Sec 6. Failure of any entities or citizens of the United States of America to comply with these constraints and regulations shall be punishable by forbiddance from holding any form of governmental office in the United States of America for the rest of their life, and no less than ten years in Federal prison.

Sec 7. Nothing in this Amendment or Constitution shall be construed to deny the rights or obligations of any entity to sue and be sued, or to buy, sell, own or dispose of property, or to be taxed.

Sec 8. No candidate shall use any of his or her own wealth to fund his or her own campaign***.


*For the donation cap, I chose the average income of the bottom 50% instead of average national income because if the top 1% made $1 billion each while 99% of us made $1 million, assuming 100 people in a nation (for simplicity), the average would be about $10 million (beyond the income of 99%ers) while .5% the average of the bottom 50%‘s income is $5,000. It’s an extreme example, but it shows how much the super rich can skew the average. .5% of the average income of the bottom 50% currently stands at around $160 if I recall correctly. If the wealthy want to donate more, they need to build up the poor.

**I did the math and with 2008’s median household income numbers (pre-recession), the percentages I chose align with the original dollar amounts. The purpose for choosing median income is to avoid the same problem with a national average income detailed above. While the donation cap is meant to incentivize building up the poorest 50%, the total cap is meant to incentivize building up median incomes which encompasses all people.


I added section 8 to prevent rich people from funding their own shit which I didn’t see covered anywhere else. It might need refining.

Someone check my logic. It’s almost 2am here so I might not be thinking straight.

Also, more refined drafts of this amendment are welcomed and encouraged.

Much credit to Aaron Eisenbarth and everyone who has posted.
commented 2011-10-20 02:46:36 -0400 · Flag
Tim, I think this draws attention to another issue vague phrasing. In this case “publicly financed” is not referring to the standard definition of tax money, but instead to limited contributions by individuals from the general public, not organizations. This needs to be considered for clarification as well. “All elections” is quite vague as well. Elections are already organized by the government, so I will assume that it is referring to the campaigns. The wording for these things is of absolute importance.

Lauren, thank you very much for bringing attention to these other movements. I worry greatly that what might end up happening is that there will be many individual movements all going for the same thing without ever uniting and they will all get pushed to the side because none of them will stand out.

I especially liked the proposal by Jimmy Williams on GetMoneyOut:

“No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office.”

The phrasing is quite specific and of similar style to that of other legal documents. The addition of a federal holiday for elections is very much needed as well.
commented 2011-10-20 02:45:15 -0400 · Flag
Tim, I think the public financing aspect is not meant to be exclusive of private donations made by natural persons.
commented 2011-10-20 02:43:15 -0400 · Flag
Tim, I think that the public financing provision is not intended to exclude private donations. I think it simply means that public financing shall be available. It’s done because there is currently no provision in the Constitution that requires public money to be available to candidates running for federal office.
commented 2011-10-20 02:39:54 -0400 · Flag
@Martin Your idea is good, and very straight foward but I think that as much as one should donate should be set at an exact monetary amount and not a pecentage. I think one thing we should be concerned about is a corporation tellings its employees to vote one way or another or they risk getting fired, at lest in such at-will states like Indiana.
commented 2011-10-20 02:38:07 -0400 · Flag
Lauren, thanks for the info about MoveToAmend and GetMoneyOut. I agree about combining efforts. Maybe, though, having several sites working together is good for exposure, insofar as I had never heard of MoveToAmend or GetMoneyOut, but I heard about Wolf PAC apparently the day it launched (today, presumably).
commented 2011-10-20 02:32:20 -0400 · Flag
@Lauren, I think all three groups have the same end goal, thier amendment ideas are worded differently.

@Ted that can be the 28th Amendment, a good idea.
commented 2011-10-20 02:31:10 -0400 · Flag
Section 1:

Any election campaign at the federal, state, or municipal level shall be financed so as to meet the following requirements:
1. All donors shall be American citizens, and shall reside in the contested electoral region.
2. No single donation shall exceed an amount equivalent (monetarily or otherwise) to precisely one percent of the average annual income in the contested electoral region. This amount shall be clearly defined, revised anually, and determined by a publicly-funded committee.

Section 2:

As per Section 1, organized bodies {clearly define as including corporations and private companies} are not American citizens and thus shall not be involved in the electoral process. The members of such an organized body may be donors, subject to the requirements outlined in Section 1.
commented 2011-10-20 02:31:10 -0400 · Flag
Ryan, Daniel, Ashe, et. al., please help me think through this: How is the assertion that “all elections must be publicly financed” consistent with a stipulation about a limit on private donations? The discussion so far is focused on the private donation limitation; but how does any private donation above the amount of $0 get spent if elections are publicly financed? Does “all elections” refer to all campaigns; our elections are already publicly financed, but political campaigns are not. I’m all in, but I need clarification about this.
commented 2011-10-20 02:25:18 -0400 · Flag
We also need to get RID of those CROOKED Supreme Court “Justices” who ALLOW outside influences to help make their decisions. Like a “Tea Party” wife!
commented 2011-10-20 02:23:31 -0400 · Flag
Daniel understood. That is worrysome!
commented 2011-10-20 02:22:00 -0400 · Flag
Seriously I don’t think we should be duplicating efforts when it comes to constitutional amendments. There is already a movement called MoveToAmend and there is Dylan Ratigan’s amendment GetMoneyOut. I support both of those and think they both must be open to being perfected… perhaps even combined… not sure. I want to support Wolf-Pac but I am into combining forces not working against each other in these efforts. It will take BIG numbers to really make this happen. I ask Wolf-Pac to be a mature force for change and combine efforts to amend the constitution to help the majority reclaim their political power.

One thing not included in these amendments that perhaps needs to be its own amendment is that our federal elections need to be verifiable. There must be not chad or system that can be tampered with to cause the American people to have to doubt that our elections are fair and true. I think we need those three things to reclaim democracy… get money out of our elections and limit its effects on our public officials, resolve that corporations are NOT people and money is NOT free speech, and to once and for all establish our right to verified elections that allow us to have faith that the majority’s votes
commented 2011-10-20 02:19:23 -0400 · Flag
I agree Brandon.
commented 2011-10-20 02:18:41 -0400 · Flag
Ben Sorrells, that is why we should only say that they are “not persons within the meaning of the 1st and 14th Amendments.” The reason they have those rights now is because of the fiction of corporate personhood, which allowed them to assert rights as persons under the first amendment, which requires the 14th amendment for legal reasons. Look up the Citizens United case decided by the Supreme Court in January 2010.
commented 2011-10-20 02:17:53 -0400 · Flag
Ashe Eiko, I am not worried about the country turning socialist one bit. However, I am worried about people playing the trigger word “socialist” to kill the proposed amendment due to the nature of people to shut their minds and open their mouths when they hear it. I just simply wish to take the pragmatic approach to passing the amendment.
commented 2011-10-20 02:15:46 -0400 · Flag
Ryan, we’d no doubt use the same practices we already do: the Census Bureau. For veracity, there’s also the Social Security Administration. (While I don’t generally trust our government to always tell us the truth, I also imagine it lacks the competency to cover-up false numbers so expertly, so I think between the two organisations, we’re looking at pretty decent averages.)

Linked is the SSA’s page on National Average Wage Index:
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/AWI.html
commented 2011-10-20 02:10:29 -0400 · Flag
Ben good question. There are lots of little if’s and but’s.
commented 2011-10-20 02:06:34 -0400 · Flag
http://www.wolf-pac.com/why#addreaction Why we fight! Post your reaction.
commented 2011-10-20 02:05:10 -0400 · Flag
While a corporation or any partership, llc, or the like, would still have the availability of free speech; they would not, however, be granted the rights given to living human beings as per se the Constitution. I do have a question though, if a worker of a corporaition dies while working for a corporation, and it is thier fault, does the corporation have the right to request a speedy trial, or due process?
commented 2011-10-20 02:02:13 -0400 · Flag
Brandon Fetterly, who is going to decide what the average American income is? Which methodology will we use? Should the standard be set in the Amendment, or will we just delegate this to presidential appointees? Obviously, this standard would not be open too egregious abuse, but some abuse is possible. It would be unlikely that anyone would believe that the average income right now is $100,000, for instance, but can you prove that the average income is a particular amount, say $56,000, without any dissent? This might be a good way to go, though, because even some reasonable fluctuations would only result in differences of a few hundred dollars.
commented 2011-10-20 01:58:30 -0400 · Flag
I believe that being efficient with a statement is important. There are many unintended consequences of broad statements like “Corportations are not people”, but truth is truth – Corporations are NOT people" nor do I think they should be treated as such. Dan Dubenco while you say that it could be taken to the extreme and used as a basis to take away property rights from businesses, today corporations (people according to the law) cannot be imprisoned. This is a double standard. I wouldn’t worry about our country becoming socialist just yet.
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