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 2013-07-28 05:03:36 -0400 · Flag
The 100 dollar part has me nervous. future lawmakers could twist that amount by using some odd inflation excuse or other nonsense. Other than that it’s direct and there’s nothing vague about it.
commented 2013-07-19 18:06:44 -0400 · Flag
I signed. This is a step toward monetary reform and freedom from the Bank!
commented 2013-07-07 19:42:56 -0400 · Flag
@michael and Everyone

You NEED to watch the documentary Money Masters and also check out Bill Stills presentation at the open minded conference and Birgitta J’s presentation there as well. You can Utube them. It will take up some hours of your time. Money Masters is 3 1/2 hours long itself and I understand that most people won’t want to commit that much time out of their busy schedules, but EVERYONE NEEDS TO WATCH!!!!! IT’S IMPORTANT!!!!
commented 2013-07-07 19:06:57 -0400 · Flag
@collin, history shows us that governments who own and operate the money presses always inflate their currency, plunging their nations into absolute poverty. A recent example is Zimbabwe, and lets not forget about Germany’s post WWI inflation. Yet more relevant to us is that the US has corrupted the special purpose of the Federal Reserve being a separate money-printing entity. Now, Congress simply sends its spending plan to the Fed, and it prints enough money to cover the bill. Hence, we are living in a time of hyper inflation.

@naveen, unfortunately the method of random selection removes the peoples ability to select the most representative candidate. If we want better representation, we must decrease the size of voting constituencies, and thus increase the number of Representatives. Currently, many districts include hundreds of thousands of possible voters, and although only a small fraction vote, only one person is selected to represent them. If we limit a district to, say, 50,000 people, that places the candidate closer to the electorate, and thus he’ll be more directly accountable. This also solves the problem with Congressmen not reading the bills they sign, as both accountability to voters, as well as individual partisanship will fracture the dangerous two-party block voting we currently experience.

As for requiring Congressmen to attend every debate or else they cannot vote on a bill, I can see dirty politics being used to shut out dissenting voices, and thus the results would be less democratic. I’d rather there be a test that each Congressman himself must take which requires specific knowledge from within the bill prior to voting. If he can’t get every question correct, then he cannot vote, and the results will be publicly available. Is your Congressman lousy at reading and comprehending the things he votes on? We’ll know and it serves as fuel to remove him in the next election, or hold a special election if his results are consistently dismal.

As for the cost of an increase in Federal Representatives, if Congress can currently spend trillions of dollars on illegal domestic surveillance, pre-crime programs, we can certainly shut down those programs and fund better representation.
commented 2013-07-07 15:43:58 -0400 · Flag
Naveen,

I’m in! but you’re preaching to the choir because like you the most widely supported amendment proposal out there do not go far enough: they simply will not solve the problem, which runs deeper than the problem of money influencing politics. The problem is that money has too much influence over everything in this country! The people need to make a moral statement in the form of a constitutional amendment about the use of money, and I’m not sure they are ready to do that yet. I’m beginning to resign myself that proposals such as what you and I are talking about will have to take the form of a future amendment. The proposal that is currently before congress and wending its way through ratification by the states is certainly a step in the right direction, and it may be all that is passable at this point in our history.

Collin,
Massive protests certainly dramatize the people’s objection to whatever is being protested against. Perhaps a massive rally in DC once 38 states have held constitutional conventions would push it over the top.
commented 2013-07-07 03:30:40 -0400 · Flag
Implementation is easy. Anyone who owns media which has any significant audience reach should have to open the floor of participation to a public, transparent lottery-system (in this case a website) of participant-selection if engaging in political campaigning. Simple.

That addresses the media side of things. The congress side of things is addressable by having a congress which is itself selected via a lottery system. This would be a maximally-representative cross-section of the people. Other necessary rules are: every measure proposed in the congress by any member must be voted upon separately & regularly, a member must have attended all debate sessions in relation to a measure to be permitted to vote on it, & undercover & regular bribery checks on each member. That would address the congress/senate side of things.
commented 2013-07-06 21:21:53 -0400 · Flag
14,000,000+person protest in DC. If Egypt can we can. I don’t think very many people trust the government or believe that the government is looking out for our best interests. If we can’t trust them they need to go. We need to stand up for ourselves! Our representatives can’t(won’t,whatever)! We the people sure as Hell can!
commented 2013-07-06 20:15:50 -0400 · Flag
Collin,
I’m skeptical that this government understands what is “necessary to benefit the people”, since the federal government is made up mostly of representatives and senators who are for the most part owned by the (mostly corporate) special interests who have funded their candidacies. So, I would not trust the management of the currency to them.

Naveen,
You’re right, as always my friend. Citizen’s United was not the beginning of "government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations, and overturning it will only bring us back to 2008, when big business had been pillaging the economy for decades already. Naveen calls for an article making unrepresentative speech unconstitutional. A fine concept, but difficult to grasp and implement. As I have said before in this blog, my personal view of the 28th amendment is one that defines the social responsibilities of publicly traded corporations to the societies in which they operate.
commented 2013-07-06 17:00:06 -0400 · Flag
“Money out of politics” is the stated goal.

Unrepresentative influence out of politics is the more precise goal.

If Citizens United was not the beginning of unrepresentative influence in politics, then reversing Citizens United will not end it.

The same goes for Buckley v Valeo, and 1st National Bank of Boston v Bellotti.

The concept of money, or unrepresentative influence, out of politics MUST be included in the wording of the amendment itself, otherwise it will rear its ugly head in some other form in future, for example under a claim with respect to “the freedom of the press”, or some other such potential legal shield.

None of the proposed amendments by any of the big movement leaders actually explicitly demand the end of money in politics. I have proposed one that does, in this comments section. I suggest that people push for something like it instead.
commented 2013-07-06 13:59:52 -0400 · Flag
Paul

Thanks. For getting back to me and for the proposed amendment. Apparently not the only 28th amendment being proposed? I don’t believe our money needs to be backed by anything other than our government. If it was actually our government printing the money (and not the federal reserve) they would only print what was necessary to benefit the people and upon seeing inflation would tax accordingly. Also check out Bill Stills money masters documentary and his presentation at the open minded conference in 2012, let me know what you think
commented 2013-07-06 12:35:50 -0400 · Flag
Michael,
Thanks for the correction. You are absolutely correct that amendments to the constitution are legal clauses (as such their wording is critically important) and it is the Supreme Court’s duty to interpret the constitution. My mistake. Duh……….

The whole point of the resolution posted below and the combined efforts of Wolf-Pac and other ad-hoc organizations is to provide a constitutional basis for overturning the Citizen’s United decision by the Supreme Court.

Do you agree with the proponents that the proposed resolution will indeed do that? Like you, I don’t represent Wolf-Pac or any other organization, but I can tell you that many people are counting on whatever 28th amendment that gets passed to serve that purpose! The goal of all these efforts is to reverse the Citizen’s United decision.
commented 2013-07-06 12:12:45 -0400 · Flag
Thank you for correcting a lazy mistake. I was referring to the 4th amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and amendments are legal clauses. I’m not sure if we’re disagreeing on this point. However, the Supreme Court’s principle duty is to interpret the Constitution, in fact they’ve ruled only last week on the 5th amendment.

Also, thank you for posting the language presented to Congress.
commented 2013-07-06 11:56:32 -0400 · Flag
Michael, replying to your last post:

A constitutional amendment is what is being proposed, not a law. I don’t think the Supreme Court is permitted to interpret or rule on constitutional amendments, so what you are suggesting will not happen.

Also, I’m not sure what you are referring to in your statement referring to “secure in our papers” in the First Amendment. My copy of the First Amendment contains no such phrase. We are talking about the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, right?
commented 2013-07-06 11:41:35 -0400 · Flag
Michael,
This text has been presented to the US House of Representatives on February 14,2013:

H.J.RES.29 — Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only. (Introduced in the US House of Representatives)

HJ 29 IH

113th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. J. RES. 29
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 14, 2013

Mr. NOLAN (for himself and Mr. POCAN) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:
`Article—

`Section 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
`Section 2. Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure. Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed. The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
`Section 3. Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.’.
commented 2013-07-06 10:50:49 -0400 · Flag
I don’t represent Wolf Pac, and I’ve only just joined this conversation. My exposure was through TyT. As far as the specific language, I can only guess that it will be brief, and close to the clauses written above. That is best for an overarching law, both to encompass its spirit and its letter. When this law is challenged and interpreted by the Supreme Court, being too specific can lead us into debating the definition of “is,” and so there needs to be room for a nine-panel clarification on the spirit of the law. Just look at how our 1st Amendment right to be “secure in our papers,” has been willfully construed to mean only physical documents. That somehow “papers” wasn’t mean to include all personal documents and data regardless of how it is stored. A separate document, like the Federalist Papers, is the better means of elaborating upon and clarify the intentions behind the amendments.

Can anyone else provide a current draft of the proposed 28th amendment as it has been presented to State legislators? I’ll do some searching later if not.
commented 2013-07-06 10:33:54 -0400 · Flag
Michael,
I can’t find a clear expression on Wolf-Pac ’s website of specific text for a 28th Amendment; Wolf-Pac is very focused on convening Constitutional Conventions in as many states as possible to propose a 28th amendment in each state. A concisely-worded proposal can be found at, .
commented 2013-07-06 10:27:56 -0400 · Flag
Collin,
I wish the country would return to the gold-standard as the basis for printing money. Today’s currency has no intrinsic value. This is a problem.

Without backing by something with intrinsic value such as gold, the government can print as much money as it wants, risking inflation as it does so since the value of each dollar decreases, the more dollars are printed.
commented 2013-07-06 10:23:16 -0400 · Flag
Collin,
Go to Wolf-Pac’s home page for an answer to your question, "what is a Limited Convention. Wolf-Pac is totally focused on convening Limited Conventions in all 50 states.
commented 2013-07-06 10:21:38 -0400 · Flag
Michael,
There was nothing wrong with the system we had in place before. What’s wrong is the political climate we have now. That has changed from the worse. Legislators on both sides of the aisle are driven by political ideology and influenced by the corporate money that got them into office.

I agree with you that the government should retain total control over the entire voting process, including the manufacture of voting machines. If the government retook control of voting machines, there would be no jobs lost as the government, not being in the manufacturing business, would hire private manufacturers under contract, even the same ones who currently make proprietary voting machines, to manufacture machine for the government to its specifications, not theirs.

However, the government body that oversees elections, including the mfr of voting machines, would have to be comprised of members of both political parties, and independents, to try to keep some semblance of neutrality in the election process. That would be the biggest challenge to implementing your suggestion successfully, I think.
commented 2013-07-04 21:55:10 -0400 · Flag
@michael Culver

What is a Limited Convention? Obviously I’ve never gotten into government politics and really don’t know. I was turned onto Bill Stills and some of his work by a friend and it has me fired up. I would love to see a level playing field and if I can help I will. Any information or help in understanding this cause would be greatly appreciated.
commented 2013-07-04 21:04:57 -0400 · Flag
@paul Keleher

Private ownership of electoral equipment is a new thing, and the laws that grant these private owners the right to hide the raw data under the guise of protecting “trade secrets” is absolutely dangerous and has the appearance of corruption. What was wrong with the system we had in place before? Why don’t we work on solutions to those relatively minor problems, rather than throw the baby out with the bath water?

As for an addition to the 28th amendment, it doesn’t take a genius to see that this is wrong, and will only be expanded into something even worse over time. I’m not a lawyer, and I have no experience in writing laws; though the comment and concerns are still valid.
commented 2013-07-04 20:59:24 -0400 · Flag
@collin Osowski
Government is not a private enterprise, and should not be treated as such.

I think the consensus is that the people we elect to make decisions about borrowing, foreign policy, etc, will always favor their largest money-contributing constituents; which, by far, are currently corporations through PACs.

When a single corporation can donate hundreds of millions of dollars to a candidate, where as the flesh and blood voters can only collectively come up with about 20 million, whose interests do you think he’ll pursue while in office? So an amendment preventing us from borrowing money will never find a backer in congress, unless the persons elected are not corrupted by the sheer amounts of special interest money currently needed to secure mass-media promotion, let alone sustain an 8 month national campaign.

By getting corporate money out of politics, and by leveling the playing field through public financing of elections (which again is a vital and necessary public duty), this increases the ability of reasonable persons to run a serious campaign.
commented 2013-07-04 19:02:20 -0400 · Flag
What we really need is an Amendment to the Constitution that will not allow our country to borrow money. I mean come on! We can make our own money that actually benefits our people!
commented 2013-07-04 18:58:05 -0400 · Flag
The law hasn’t been written yet, this is a primer on getting a Limited Convention in order to write and ratify the law.
commented 2013-07-04 18:55:39 -0400 · Flag
Way to vauge to get me to sign. The banks controlling our money and scamming our people/country with fractional reserve lending is the real problem. The government has no need to borrow money ever. And banks should not be allowed to print/lend more than they have. That is fraud. The Federal Reserve is not a part of our government and should not SHOULD NOT be in control.
commented 2013-07-03 21:15:19 -0400 · Flag
Michael, permit me to play the devil’s advocate for a minute: you are suggesting that all polling equipment be owned and operated by the government. Well, in the government there are Democrats and Republicans. Given the current political climate, is either party beyond tampering to achieve control? Public ownership removes the profit incentive from the process, and may render improved transparency, but it is still subject to tampering. Perhaps some measures could be taken to ensure balance by requiring governing bodies to be made up of equal numbers of all political parties?

Nate, your rep or senator would be a good place to review the kind of detailed proposal you have posted. They might be able to advise you on some of the details that we on this blog are not equipped to address. Just a thought.
commented 2013-06-30 18:39:56 -0400 · Flag
Perhaps include language which prevents any part of our voting process to be privatized. For example, private companies own the electronic voting machines used to determine an election. They also have a proprietary right to keep the actual votes cast secret, as its collection is a ‘trade secret.’ We also know that two retired NSA analysts raised concerns in 2011 that there was significant ballot tampering done in many larger districts across the country. The possibility of tampering and the inability to reverse engineer the tallying software leaves our process too vulnerable to manipulation and corruption.
commented 2013-06-03 13:49:23 -0400 · Flag
In my mind there are two pieces to this, the first is the amendment and the second is the body of laws that will implement the amendment. Seems like most are fixated on the law part and not the amendment part. So, I’m going to toss my hat in the ring on the law part first… I’ll add the amendment part next. Though clearly there is a lot more work needed, I recommend the following for your consideration:

1. Monetary contributions or in-kind, non-monetary contributions of goods or services to a candidate or in support of a candidate for elected or appointed public office, or any person holding public office, shall only be permitted from those citizens eligible to vote, or eligible to register to vote, in the election using the local ballot or write-in absentee ballot (if permitted by state/local law) in which the supported candidate is running.

2. The calendar year campaign contribution for each citizen eligible to make contributions as referenced in paragraph 1 (above) to any particular candidate will be not more than the sum of forty times the federal minimum wage then in effect on January 1st of the election year.

3. Contributions to campaigns of in-kind, non-monetary goods or services will be converted to a monetary equivalent by applying the prevailing fair market value of the in-kind contribution. Use the procedures described by the current Internal Revenue Service publication describing how to determine the value of charitable contributions.

4. Individuals that are permitted to make contributions as referenced in paragraph 1 (above) will be permitted to combine non-separable non-monetary contributions with other individuals also eligible to make contributions as referenced in paragraph 1 (above).

5. The proportion of ownership of the combined non-separable non-monetary contributions referenced in paragraph 4 (above) will be declared by the contributors with each individual contributor’s share subject to the individual contribution limits referenced in paragraph 2 and paragraph 3 (above).

6. Those citizens that would otherwise be eligible to vote but are prevented from voting due to a loss of franchise following a criminal conviction will be permitted to make contributions in accordance with paragraph 1 (above) as though they were eligible to register to vote.

7. Candidates for elected or appointed public office are prohibited from accepting monetary contributions or in-kind, non-monetary contributions of goods or services from any source other citizens as described in paragraph 1 (above) or public funds as used for the public finance of campaigns.

8. Candidates for elected or appointed public office are required to maintain records of all contributions and report those contributions periodically to the appropriate elections commission.

9. Contributions to candidates as referenced in this act shall be tax deductable.

10. For the purposes of this act, the terms “candidate(s)” and “campaign(s)” shall be considered equivalent.

11. Contributions to candidates in the form of individual volunteer labor shall not be considered a contribution under this act unless that individual is paid or compensated by a third party, in which case the provisions of this act shall apply.
commented 2013-05-26 03:49:26 -0400 · Flag
Rich, no secret police would be contemplated because media activity is totally out in the open, so it’s easy for anyone to make a claim that they are not able to apply to have a chance to be heard, read or seen. It is also easy to prove that the outlet has not had its political opinion contributors chosen via the random algorithm on a public transparent website, because they simply would not have signed up on any public transparent website.

So the implementation would be incredibly easy and would increase, not decrease, the amount of speech that would be taking place. This would allow more provable ideas to propagate, and more disprovable ideas to be disproven, thereby lowering the margin of error for the society, which is the whole reason why we are having this discussion in the first place.

If you are talking about the freedom to unrepresentatively dominate the political conversation, then that is a “freedom” nobody should support, and, again, is the reason why we are having this conversation at all.

The computer algorithm for selecting contributors must be maximally random and use a publicly viewable seed and applicant list so that anyone can repeat the calculation with the same applicant list and seed to verify that there is no tampering.

Simple.

The same process for selecting members of congress.

The very worst case for such a congress is that it carries out majority conscience of the general public. The very best case, given that no member would be permitted to vote on a measure for which they haven’t attended all debate sessions, is that they carry out universally provable decisions, whether or not it started out as a majority opinion.

Lack of representation is the whole problem in relation to money in politics, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it as a problem at all.

Might as well solve the whole problem in one fell swoop. It does not have the “secret police” dimension you are speaking of. Nor does it reduce “freedom” in any way other than the freedom to corrupt (exert unrepresentative influence over) the political process.
commented 2013-05-25 14:57:40 -0400 · Flag
Naveen seems to be proposing an ideal, a noble ideal indeed, but several here question the feasibility and practicality of it. I don’t see where Naveen’s proposal “regulates speech” as Rich suggests, but Naveen’s proposal is so radical that it may only be feasible after more modest proposals have been implemented and proven successful. In my opinion, we’re a few steps away from being in a position to realize the scenario Naveen proposes.

Rich, a few suggestions for your proposed Proposed “cs2 28th Amendment”:
1. To Section 1, paragraph 2, add after the word “Constitution”, the following text, “, are specifically barred from making any monetary or in-kind contribution to any political campaign,”
2. In section 2, change the added text to, “…to a monetary value that would not impede any citizen eligible to vote in a given election, regardless of economic means, from equal participation.” [This should render the monetary or in-kind contribution of any individual insignificant.]
3. Strike paragraph 2 of section 2 to avoid privacy issues.
4. Section 3, paragraph 1 seems to be trying to codify rights that already exist and are widely exercised, so it seems unnecessary.
5. Section 3, paragraph 2 should be deleted because is redundant: artificial entities are already stripped of all rights in Section 1, paragraph 1.
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