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 2013-07-06 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.
commented 2013-05-21 01:27:13 -0400 · Flag
Naveen, regulating speech is a non-starter in a free society. Sorry, you are asking the tail to wag the dog. Efforts would be out of proportion to any possible positive results. Secret police would be the overall result.
A lottery would be very sporadic and slipshod in result. Elections are a better system, but with money taken out of the system. You want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
commented 2013-05-20 21:03:53 -0400 · Flag
1. a) Everyone must have the equal chance to be heard, read or seen.
b) The only way to do that is lottery-based media (especially political media), by law, coordinated via a public, transparent website.

2. a) “Party” systems must be eliminated. The first-past-the-post electoral system forces a 2-party system. A congress must also be lottery-selected from all who apply so that a maximally-representative-cross-section of the interested public sits in congress. b) They must be required to vote regularly & separately on every single measure proposed by every single member. Anyone who hasn’t attended all debate sessions in relation to a measure should not be permitted to vote upon it. c) Congress must be tested regularly, undercover, for their willingness to accept a bribe. Any acceptance or failure to report must result in immediate dismissal and replacement.

3. No weaker measures will do, and would invariably self-destruct within a decade or so, as money and/or unrepresentative influence takes over again.
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.
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