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 2011-10-20 04:03:44 -0400 · Flag
@ Tim Elston
I completely agree. I’m very much a lefty politically, but we should never exclude anyone simply for being conservative.
commented 2011-10-20 04:00:46 -0400 · Flag
One suggestion, from someone who always, ever voted Republican until 2004, at which time I didn’t start voting Democrat (I became an independent who has since cast protest votes against both Republicans and Democrats, for the very reason to which this site is dedicated):

I notice on the “Volunteer Tasks” page that there is an assumption that this movement appeals to “progressive” organizations and “Occupy” movements. But to people on the right, “progressive” has become, and “Occupy” is becoming, a buzzword to indicate the left. Believe it, or not, there are people on the right and in the Tea Party who would support an amendment like this. They may seem “regressive” to progressives, and they may act like “Teatards” to Occupiers, but this constitutional proposal is a point of convergence between some on the left and the right.

I suggest that Wolf PAC use inclusive (or neutral) language with respect to this point, so that conservative sympathizers aren’t alienated by an unfortunate, and, in my view, unwarranted, impression that this is a cause célèbre exclusive to the left. If we align with Occupy Wall Street, perhaps we should also woo Tea Party sympathizers with equally welcoming language. And if an amendment to win representational government back from monopolistic and plutocratic tyranny is progressive, and if it is liberal with respect to the democracy itself, it is also conservative with respect to the preservation of the spirit of 1776 and its symbolic Boston Tea Party.

Just a suggestion, but if heeded we could probably get more overall support.
commented 2011-10-20 03:57:28 -0400 · Flag
It’s also how Masonic lodges vote. The original model used by our founding fathers. I happen to know first hand how well it works. It emphasizes the equality of each member. Officers would be only to maintain decorum during proceedings.
commented 2011-10-20 03:54:19 -0400 · Flag
@Issac Russhing

That sounds like a good idea, but isn’t that what they do at Constitutional Conventions?
commented 2011-10-20 03:47:31 -0400 · Flag
@Tim Elston:

The percentages refer to “X percent of the median income of households in the United States of America”. I didn’t think it was necessary to add that line at the end of all the percentages. In numbers, it’s 25,000% (250x), then 50,000% (500x), and 100,000% (1000x). …now that I think about it, it might be better just to say “one thousand times”.

I share your concern about the revolving door, but I’m not sure how to address that. You can’t just ban office holders from being employed by an “entity”. They’ll have really crappy job prospects after leaving office. You can ban them from becoming a registered lobbyist, but idk if they have to registered to talk to an old Congressional friend.


@Daniel Dubenco

Hmm…
I agree. How should we address that? Are mandatory punishments even necessary?
commented 2011-10-20 03:46:08 -0400 · Flag
Any thoughts on my previous suggestion as to the voting/assembly organization?
commented 2011-10-20 03:44:58 -0400 · Flag
I also agree that each area should retain autonomy. Centralized power is always a mistake in the end.
@RobertWHurst tweeted link to this page. 2011-10-20 03:42:37 -0400
commented 2011-10-20 03:42:23 -0400 · Flag
Lauren, you make a good, clear point that the groups should remain autonomous, but support for each movement should go across borders to optimize support.
You bring it to a great point that this all comes down to the action of voting itself, so we should all remember that all this is pointless if we forget to do that part.

Just now I got an application for an absentee ballot. I believe that is a very important step for me personally that I almost forgot to acknowledge.
commented 2011-10-20 03:33:00 -0400 · Flag
@Danny Wesgate

I agree. Here are some alterations to sec 6 I made.

Sec 6. Failure of any inhabitant of the United States of America and its territories 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 five years in Federal prison; failure of any entity, domestic or foreign, to comply with these constraints and regulations shall be punishable by an imposed fee of 50% of all entity profits and capital gains, to be collected at the end of four quarters each quarter.

I lowered the mandatory sentence to 5 years because 10 for a slight amount over the max is a bit unfair. 5 years might be too, but hopefully that’ll discourage anyone from attempting. The courts can scale it up if they deem it necessary.

For entity punishment, I chose taking a big chunk out of their profits. I think 50% might be a bit much since that might be corporation killing. (Get huge ass fee, raise prices on their shit, no one buys, corp goes down.) While their influence is disproportionate, they do contribute quite a bit to our economy.

Anyway, opinion?

Also, I altered section 1 to this. It uses some other site’s wording which I thought was better. I changed some minor things:

“Sec 1. No corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, or offer any form of gift or compensation 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; or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for office. "
commented 2011-10-20 03:32:00 -0400 · Flag
How bout a board of democratically elected officers to preside over a Democratic assembly where each member of the assembly recieves a single vote of equal weight on each issue at table and any member may bring motions to table for consideration of the whole. What do you think, gentlemen?
commented 2011-10-20 03:30:14 -0400 · Flag
I agree first and foremost that we need to unite these movements. I would say that is the most important message to get out of all of this. It should be very plausible for the leaders of this movement to contact the leaders of the other movements to band together considering that all of them are looking for more support.

Thank you for gathering the information so far in one place, Lam. That is very helpful. However, I believe that we run the risk of trying to bite off more than we can chew by expanding the amendment to such a size. Each new addition comes with countless details to be resolved and more complications to distract from the main idea. In addition, deciding on the specifics of such punishments and other details so rashly would turn out poorly in the long run, especially with zero flexibility. People actually do make genuine tiny mistakes, so attaching such heavy punishment to thin lines would discourage participation. More importantly, imagine reading a headline about an average Joe being imprisoned for 10 years for accidentally contributing 2 cents over the limit based on a statistical change from the previous year. It would detract from the intent of the movement to empower voters rather than corporations. I am quite impressed by the donations cap proposal.
commented 2011-10-20 03:21:11 -0400 · Flag
@ Ben. I think the groups could remain autonomous so there are different flavors and images to appeal to many different diverse groups of Americans but we all increase our power if we unite in the efforts in finding the clearest, best language to meet our amendment needs so that we all as part of the majority can reclaim our political power. Again none of the amendments address a true and verifiable voting process. Election fraud is much more and issue for voters in trusting the system than ‘voter fraud’ which all of the voter suppression laws are based on.
Occupy could go far to create a way to get people registered and help to make sure they get to vote. I have this funny image of a copy machine out in the park in front of our capitol with extension cords running into the building for power as people bring their ID’s to register for example. I don’t think that is a problem yet here in CO but it is in many states and will affect millions of voters next year.
commented 2011-10-20 03:15:32 -0400 · Flag
Lam, great job! I like it. I’m puzzled by Section 4, with its references to X “thousand percent,” but I take that to be a 2 am typo. :) Even so, I like the intent.

Section 2 caused me to wonder about how to deal with the revolving door between corporations (or other non-citizen entities) and government. Even if we have an amendment restricting gifts, compensation, favors, and campaign donations, politicians can potentially still be influenced by the promise of corporate positions and other benefits after they leave office. Should Section 2 be revised to address this contingency?
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 03:14:00 -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).
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