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 2013-05-20 19:00:29 -0400 · Flag
Only Congress can write a Joint Resolution. Not me.
commented 2013-05-20 18:59:04 -0400 · Flag
Section 2 prevents undue influence by regulation, etc. I have $1, don’t you?
commented 2013-05-20 18:56:27 -0400 · Flag
Sections 1, 2, and 4 come from MOve to Amend, movetoamend.org . Again, not my amendment.
commented 2013-05-20 18:53:07 -0400 · Flag
If the idea became part of a Joint Resolution it would be the language of Congress, not my amendment language.
commented 2013-05-20 18:50:15 -0400 · Flag
Only Section 3 is offered by me and many others including Russ Verney, Ross Perot’s right hand man in the early 90s. The idea was popular among Reform Party members in the 90s and on to today. This is not about me. It is about equal political speech for all citizens.
commented 2013-05-20 18:42:22 -0400 · Flag
Section three excludes all artificial legal entities, including all political parties, like the incumbent two-party monopoly. At present there is a $2500 limit on contributions to Congressional candidates. What can make it equal is Section 2, which disqualifies money as speech under the 1st Amendment. As importantly in the first paragraph it stipulates that government at all levels “shall” regulate, limit, or prohibit campaign contributions and expenditures to influence elections. Read Sections 1, 2, and 3 to see what it would do. Legislators could limit contributions to $1 per person under the law under Section 2. That would also apply to rich candidates contributions to themselves. Read the whole Amendment, not just a part of one section. Right now money cannot be regulated in campaigns by way of Buckley v. Valeo, 1976; money is speech under the 1st Amendment since then. $100 per campaign seems to be a workable compromise for contributions or expenditures from each person in an electoral district. Of course, anyone not in an electoral district cannot not contribute or expend one cent on any political campaign. Only voters in an electoral district. Limited by Section 2 regulations.
commented 2013-05-19 21:51:18 -0400 · Flag
Rich, your Joint Resolution says in part, “those natural persons who are eligible to vote shall have exclusive rights to support political campaigns with contributions and expenditures.” Doesn’t this mean that those with sufficient wealth to put money into political campaigns can by virtue of their greater wealth, exercise greater influence over the process than those without money? How is can you call this “equal political speech?”
commented 2013-05-18 15:29:31 -0400 · Flag
A proposed Congressional Joint resolution, or Convention amendment language: http://cs2pr.us/Rich/CitizensUSHouseJointRes.pdf . The language needs to be brief as possible, yet comprehensive enough to provide for equal political speech. Can’t Vote, can’t contribute is a good general concept to make sure political speech is equal for every citizen.
commented 2013-05-18 05:19:40 -0400 · Flag
I’d like to add another notation the point I made earlier. I think the limit on contributions to elections should apply to all political organizations. In other words, if the cap per year is $200.00, then that cap should be inclusive of election campaigns, PAC’s and Super PAC’s. The goal would be to starve the latter two of funds.

I would also seriously consider adding a tax penalty to all donations given to Super PAC’s and lobbying firms. Additionally, in order to disincentivize donating to PAC’s and Super PAC’s altogether, I would only make donation’s to a candidate’s political campaign organization tax deductible. Anonymous political donations would should also be outlawed completely.

I would also make all monies collected by PAC’s, Super PAC’s, and lobbying firms taxable at a rate of 60% as mandated by the amendment with no method of reducing that amount available to them. I want to fucking starve the bastards of all funds. Make legalized bribery an expensive proposition.

One other issue that should be addressed is lobbying firms. I think an amendment needs to be passed that would bar congressmen, congresswomen, senators, and all their staffers from joining lobbying firms for a minimum of 15 years after leaving office either through retirement or by being voted out of office. The idea behind that rule is to ensure they can’t use their connections with Congress and the Senate to the benefit of lobbying firms.

Hmm. Maybe what we need is an explicit separation of corporation and state. Sadly, it looks like corporations have taken the slot vacated by religion after we kicked it out of the halls of power. Now it’s time to do the same with the corporations. We need to get them out of power and then we can get to work of redistributing the wealth they’ve stolen from the lower classes.
commented 2013-05-03 02:33:30 -0400 · Flag
I would suggest outlawing all private money for funding elections. I think they should be funded exclusively with public monies, although it is unrealistic.

As such, I offer this proposal. The maximum donation per person or entity that can be donated per year should be no more than half of a full week wage earner’s (40 hours) pay at minimum wage. As an example, if the pay is $8.00 per hour, the most that can be donated per year is $160.00.
commented 2013-05-02 23:59:06 -0400 · Flag
Since public airways are corporate owned we must consider limiting the amount of profit earned
commented 2013-04-17 21:24:37 -0400 · Flag
Maybe consider raising the maximum amount they can raise every year by the amount social security is adjusted for inflation over time? Seems fitting, and should keep the maximum quite low for years to come.
commented 2013-02-23 15:40:47 -0500 · Flag
Mor Hilai… I think the answer to your concern about the media charging $ for air-time can be solved by legislation.
commented 2013-02-23 15:34:50 -0500 · Flag
Naveen, I apologize for the delay in replying. Work has left me no time lately. I want to reply to the following text revision you offered.

“Equal Chance Voice. Clause -

The equal opportunity for all ideas to be tested in debate being necessary to maximize the propagation of the most necessary solutions, every individual shall have, by right at any time regardless of means, including of purchase, the equal opportunity to have his or her opinions heard, read or seen within the United States. This principle may at no time be violated via any means, including of purchase. This shall henceforth be construed to be the meaning of “the freedom of the press” within this Constitution and all Laws of the United States passed in pursuance thereof. Congress shall have power to enforce this measure by appropriate legislation."

The clause opens with, “The equal opportunity for all ideas to be tested in debate being necessary to maximize the propagation of the most necessary solutions…”. I realize that the purpose of this introductory phrase is to explain the purpose of the clause, but it is difficult to understand, and furthermore, some may argue that the primary purpose is not to “maximize the propagation of the most necessary solutions” (obtuse language), but to assure a level playing field in which anyone who wishes to express an opinion can be heard. For simplicity and to strengthen the impact, I would simply delete this. The sentence is stronger without it.

“including of purchase” is redundant because you have already said, "by ANY means.

“This principle may at no time be violated via any means, including of purchase.” is repetitive and should be deleted.

I’m still concerned that opportunity does not mean ability. Until there is equal access to the channels of communication, there will not be equal ability.
commented 2013-02-19 06:38:24 -0500 · Flag
Mor Hilai, thanks for your comment. The aim is that anyone who expressly wants their opinions to be heard, read or seen on a broadcast, could apply to a public website which selects them at random.

The media companies / content owners would still control the programme’s number of participants, format and presentation, but the participants would have the final say either by being an editorial board or debate participants.

It is critical that the media is in fact fully representative of the people and this is the only way of achieving that. The reason why it’s critical is that it minimizes the margin of error for the nation, by allowing the largest possible range of ideas to be equitably tested in debate, while being representative, which thereby maximizes the propagation of provable ideas and the disproving of disprovable ones. Any unrepresentative influence increases the margin for error, which is the reason for the existence of the Wolf-PAC, MTA etc. movements.
commented 2013-02-18 20:27:52 -0500 · Flag
Hi Naveen, I tend to agree with you that the ‘money is not speech’ clause may not do anything to limit media corporations controlling elections. I disagree with your Equal Chance Voice clause because it’s difficult to imagine how it could be enforced. How can an individual have the right to have their opinions heard regardless of means of purchase, when most mass media requires purchasing broadcast time/space?
Worse: the clause says that “this principle [of equal opportunity for opinions to be heard] may at no time be violated via any means, including of purchase”. Can’t that be interpreted in a way that limits all kinds of media, from news shows to movies to advertisements, because they are using money to violate my right to an equal opportunity? It’s not that your clause has loopholes (as far as I can tell), it’s just the opposite: it seems to prevent anyone from spending more money than anyone else to have their opinions heard. Even books can’t be published under this interpretation.
And if (as is obvious) it isn’t interpreted that way, what power DOES the clause have? If the government can’t block regular advertisements, then how could it have the power to block political attack ads? The clause does not reflect that our concern is mostly with political speech.
But let’s suppose you change the clause so that it applies mostly to political speech, then what? 300 million voices, no-one allowed to spend money or use any other means to discuss the election? We can’t have real discourse that way either. How would anyone distribute to the whole country important facts about candidates, laws being proposed, or anything political without violating the clause? How would presidential candidates even communicated their ideas to the public?
commented 2013-02-18 12:17:36 -0500 · Flag
Dear Paul, yes, the law must provide the means where necessary to ensure a representative dialogue as a matter of right. But your concern about that seems to be based on the concept of “opportunity to do”, which the equal-chance-voice doesn’t say, and which pertains to “ability” – but the equal-chance-voice clause in fact bestows by right the equal “opportunity to have” (their opinions heard, read or seen) where in fact therefore not providing that in any given case is illegal. I’ve adjusted the clause yet again to hopefully cover your concerns:

Equal Chance Voice. Clause -

The equal opportunity for all ideas to be tested in debate being necessary to maximize the propagation of the most necessary solutions, every individual shall have, by right at any time regardless of means, including of purchase, the equal opportunity to have his or her opinions heard, read or seen within the United States. This principle may at no time be violated via any means, including of purchase. This shall henceforth be construed to be the meaning of “the freedom of the press” within this Constitution and all Laws of the United States passed in pursuance thereof. Congress shall have power to enforce this measure by appropriate legislation.

Can you please highlight the loopholes, if any, by variant interpretations, present within this current form of equal-chance-voice? If they exist, we must correct them.
commented 2013-02-18 10:23:33 -0500 · Flag
Thanks, Naveen. Your defense of your argument goes to my skepticism about your proposal, which says in part, “…every individual shall have… the equal opportunity to have his or her opinions heard…”. My skepticism is based on an understanding that equal OPPORTUNITY does not in itself necessarily assure equal ABILITY.

I believe the difference between opportunity and ability to be real. Because of this difference, the question arises: in light of the obvious fact that some people have greater ability than others, not only financially, but in terms of basic human capabilities in all areas, is the Constitution intended to assure every person equal OPPORTUNITY (for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as I understand its intent) or do we intend that the Constitution guarantee equal ABILITY?

If you believe the Constitution should guarantee only equal opportunity for all, then I don’t believe the Equal Voice Amendment will produce much change from the status quo because it does not specifically prohibit the purchase of influence, or the ability of the strong to overpower the weak by whatever means. I do not believe the Constitution or anything can guarantee what is simply not true: we do not all possess equal ability.

In the face of this reality, how will the Equal-Voice Amendment prohibit those with greater capacity from overshadowing those with less capacity? If it cannot, then how will the Equal-Voice Amendment actually improve the integrity and fairness of the political process in this county at all?

Despite its articulation of a political ideal, I just don’t see how the amendment will do what you insist it will do.
commented 2013-02-18 07:07:23 -0500 · Flag
Paul, thanks for your comment. Yes indeed, the equal-chance-voice clause, if ratified, bans corruption of a representative political dialogue by anyone acting in any capacity at any time.

Every amendment naturally supersedes everything before it, so if equal-chance-voice is ratified, the decisions in Buckley, Bellotti or Citizens United would not only be utterly unsustainable in light of it, but the egregious behavior those decisions defended against any legislation would be outrightly banned nationwide, everywhere & at any time, by the constitution itself, which is an absolute must. It’s a win-win-win-win.

“Money is not speech” doesn’t ban corruption of political dialogue, it simply says that the supreme court can’t stop legislatures regulating people spending money on political campaigning, but still leaves control with media owners entirely untouchable in light of “the freedom of the press” (not just “speech”). So it can actually make the political dialogue even less representative than today, which would increase the margin of error for the nation even more. This would be a loss for the nation, not only for the movement to end unrepresentative influence over the political dialogue.
commented 2013-02-17 21:36:12 -0500 · Flag
Naveen, in light of your arguments that the Equal-Chance_voice amendment will overturn Citizens’ United, please address this quote, posted earlier on this page by Puddin Taine. I believe it is from the Citizens’ United decision.

“Due consideration leads to this conclusion: Austin, 494 U.S. 652, 110 S.Ct. 1391, 108 L.Ed.2d 652, should be and now is overruled. We return to the principle established in Buckley and Bellotti that the Government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.” -Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 558 U.S. 310, 130 S. Ct. 876, 913, 175 L. Ed. 2d 753 (2010).
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