commented on 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 21:33:15 -0400 · Flag
@Devanche Solanki:

We have a more detailed version here. Your inflation concern should be addressed in Sec 2 and 3 of the 29th amendment. Your gold/silver/car concerns should be addressed in Sec 1 of the 29th amendment.

http://www.wolf-pac.com/lamnguyen/pac_members_revision_of_28th_amendment
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 21:30:20 -0400 · Flag
@John B. Brown:

“Section 1) Entities created by operation of law are not persons.”

—We have to have something there for partnerships, as is advised by Samuel Fieldman, a lawyer.

“Section 2) Money is not speech in any possible meaning of the words
money and speech.”

—What we have now for this provision accomplishes the same thing while using more formal wording, similar to that used throughout the Constitution.

“Section 3) No person, other than a citizen, shall be allowed to contribute
money or speech to any political purpose. "

—This, or something very similar, is probably something we’ll add in place of Sec 1 of the 29th.

“Section 4) Nothing in this Article shall be construed to deny any rights
under the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”

—This may be unnecessary entirely so we might remove the provision in the version up there entirely.

“Section 5) The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.”

—Of course, lol.

What is missing from your suggestions are caps on campaign contributions. As it is under your sections, a very wealthy person can donate a huge chunk of money and get the disproportional influence that corporations would be stripped of. And we need a total expenditure limit as well since corporations can just give money to their employees and force them to donate to a certain candidate, which has been done before. Finally, we must have restrictions on a person using their own money to finance their campaigns. Otherwise wealthy candidates will have a huge advantage over average ones.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 20:04:27 -0400 · Flag
@John B. Brown:

I support trying to simplify the rough draft we have now. We should keep in mind that the wording and language must be airtight. Simplify for the sake of conciseness, focus, and tightening the rules we’ve laid out. But don’t simplify for the sake of “elegance” or so that it is “easily understood by even the most obtuse.” That’s not our goal. Our goal is to pass an amendment(s) that will address certain issues. Whoever the delegates are to the Con-Con will not be dumb. I am sure they can understand what is being said in the amendments.

With that said, I’m personally satisfied by the length of the 28th. The 29th is a bit longer than your average amendment, but it also covers what needs to be covered. I 100% support any effort to shorten it while retaining its power.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 19:51:16 -0400 · Flag
I’ve also added a motion to remove Sec 3 of the 28th. I know more people than Minor have called for this or something similar, but I forgot.

My only argument against a full removal is that, despite decades of precedent, I’m afraid corporations might try to use their new lack of personhood to avoid paying taxes. I know it’s unlikely for them to be successful, but the concern remains. If there’s anyone more knowledgeable on the subject, please guide us on this issue.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 19:40:50 -0400 · Flag
@Minor:

Regarding your concern about the donation cap, I agree it will slightly favor richer folks who can afford to donate the max. I believe their advantage is infinitesimal though. Also, Cenk wanted it at around $100. This I felt was close enough. Keep in mind, candidates still need enough money to run their campaigns effectively.

“You can reduce Amendment 28 to the first sentence of section 1 and Section 4.”

I thought that too, but Samuel is a lawyer and has a much better understanding the partnerships and corporations than I. I trust Samuel when he says partnerships must be addressed.

“Is there some general way to say that donations are regulated by statute but not protected by the Constitution”

Everything not protected by the Constitution is subject to federal and state laws already, I believe.

“Sorry to beat this drum again, but for the sake of elegance knock off the front end of the first sentence of Section 1 of the 29th and say “Only a U.S. Citizen shall be allowed…” That takes care of it. I’d also like to see a provision restricting donations to the actual constituents of the candidate.”

That’s something I’ve been considering. Let’s see if others agree.

“In 29, Section 5, consider replacing “shall be afforded herewith the rights and privileges to” with “may.” “Limits and restrictions” is redundant. Perhaps “of and for” could be “of”? Perhaps candidates should be permitted “use of personal property” so their home offices and computers don’t become an issue. I suppose a millionaire could use his personal jet, but once he put a few gallons of fuel in it or paid the pilot for a few hours it would be over the donation limit.”

Changed that text to “may”. Limits and restrictions isn’t redundant because people interpret limits to apply to numbers like the 2 caps. Restrictions applied more to “corporations can’t donate” or “people can’t use their personal wealth to fund their campaigns.” And I’ll see if “use of personal property” is more supported language.

“Also in Section 5, change the reference to the nonexistent Section 5 of the 28th Amendment to Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the 29th. "

I just changed it to ‘in this amendment.’

“Also, in Section 1 of 29th, why do we mention “appointee”? Appointees don’t raise money or run for office. "

People appointed to, but not yet in office, can be bribed with gifts and stuff. This just ensures that if you’re appointed, you already can’t receive gifts.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 19:18:01 -0400 · Flag
@Tessa:

“Also, what methodology should be employed to define and measure “the poorest fifty percent of Americans” and what their “median income” is? You may want review your usage of the words “average” and “median” in Secs. 2 & 3. They are not mathematically the same and cannot be used interchangeably.”

The same methodology already used to determine it. We’ve had Census stats on that for a while, you know. And yes, my word choice was purposeful. Average was used for the poorest 50% because it’s simple. Median was used for a national, all demographic sampling of income because it severely limits the influence of the super rich on the final cap. Say we have 4 people. Each make $1/year, but 1 makes $100/year. The average is skewed and ends up about $25 while the median is simply $1, more in-line with average income makers.

“What do candidates do with money that they don’t spend during the election cycle”

That’s something to be worked out. My proposal is that it be given to the federal government and be used to partially fund the candidates’ campaign next election cycle. This way no taxes have to be raised for public financing.

“Should candidates really be allowed to receive campaign contributions to their personal accounts?”

This is a mistake. I will correct it with Samuel’s language.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 01:36:33 -0400 · Flag
Also, does Sec 2 of the 28th (may need to refresh) seem unnecessary? It doesn’t really have to do with corporate personhood and corporations, which is what the section is primarily targeted at, can’t donate anyway because of the 29th. Also, this might end up hurting the rights of citizens to donate.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 01:31:57 -0400 · Flag
@Samuel:
“Well, first of all, it should be moved from the 29th to the 28th because that’s where the 4th amendment concerns lie. "
Lol, my mistake. I should move Sec 1 of the 28th to the 29th too since it deals more with campaign financing.

How does this sound?

“Personal information voluntarily inputted into any non-governmental entity is the sole property of [the one who inputted that data, not sure what to call them] and is protected from unwarranted searches and seizures as detailed in the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-25 00:56:43 -0400 · Flag
Hey Samuel, since you’re a lawyer and all, do you think it’s a good idea to remove Sec 5 from the 29th? I’d like to cut down on unnecessary provisions. Yes, it all must be airtight, but if a section is irrelevant or unusable, it should go.
commented on 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 23:45:59 -0400 · Flag
Hey John, I’ve separated the corporate personhood sections and the campaign finance section into 2 separate documents. We can focus on one or the other or both. I’ve also included Samuel’s addition.

Tell me what you think:
http://www.wolf-pac.com/lamnguyen/pac_members_revision_of_28th_amendment
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 23:39:32 -0400 · Flag
After hearing the arguments and posts of dissatisfaction form several of you, I’ve divided the original amendment into the 28th and 29th so that each may have its own focus. Some important changes include the addition of Sec 2 of the 28th. This was drafted by Samuel Fieldman, a lawyer, and I’ll trust his knowledge and wisdom on this addition. I’ve also altered the language of Sec 2 of the 29th with Minor Heretic’s revision. I found it to be better and less wordy.

@Minor Heretic:

The current limits on total campaign expenditures were just arbitrarily chosen. I used 12.5 million, 25 million, and 50 million as placeholders more than anything, lol. Those numbers are definitely up for debate.

As for your point on the individual donation cap, Cenk wanted the cap at around $100 so that’s what we aimed for. We had to find a way to get past the problem of inflation though so we tied it to a dynamic source. .5% of the bottom 50%‘s average income came pretty close (This was something I came up with myself. I wanted the donation cap to rise when Americans got richer and fall when Americans got poorer.) And I don’t see a need to cut it further. You want it cut into 1/3rd of what it is to suit the current levels of spending, but that’s because you assuming every American will donate the maximum amount. Judging from the stats you gave us in 2010, probably only 10 million will donate and only .08% donation over $200.

@Samuel Fieldman:
“Actually, I would like that to be the main portion of the amendment with just a few other minor points, including one ensuring that campaign finance is valid under the Constitution”

What do you mean exactly?

Btw guys, I want to know if most people are satisfied with the 28th now. It has one main focus and includes a detailed section on corporate personhood. Let’s make sure we’ve got the 28th down for the most part before we address the issue of campaign finance, the second half of Cenk’s objective.
commented on Home 2011-10-24 17:10:04 -0400
Just a suggestion. Could we possibly have a more advanced forum such as Proboards (Free) or vBulletin (Not free)?
signed up for outreach 2011-10-24 17:10:04 -0400
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 16:59:59 -0400 · Flag
@Zain Pradhan:
It’s cool dude. And yeah, if we ever need you to do anything, we’ll let you know. We need everyone to make this Con-Con happen.

@William Falberg:
Every argument I hear against Sec 7 (and there have been a few) makes me lean closer to removing it. As someone else said, corporations and businesses have sued, been sued, bought and sold property, and paid taxes before corporate personhood was ever a thing. It may very well be unnecessary.

Since we don’t have a poll function on this forum, I’m just gonna make one up. In the original post, I’ve added a “Motions” section. If anyone feels a course of action should be taken with respect to the amendment, post it and I’ll add it to the Motions section. I’ll then add the names of everyone who posts their support for the motion. (A bit crude, I know. Tell me if you have a better idea.)

I’ll start us off by making a motion to remove Sec 7. If you support, say so.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 16:25:52 -0400 · Flag
@John Nicholson:

I share your concerns. I had the exact same thoughts when we decided to add Sec 3 in there. I just figured not being able to receive gifts from your family would be a price to be paid for eliminating possible corporate gifts. I would, however, like to see language that allows for “reasonable” gifts for birthdays or Christmas or weddings, etc without opening the door for corporate funds.

Maybe, banning cash or cash equivalents? A value limit? This line:

“Office holders can only accept gift not offered under circumstances that might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of their governmental duties.”

Here are the current gift rules for congresspeople:
http://www.cleanupwashington.org/lobbying/page.cfm?pageid=43
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 16:17:34 -0400 · Flag
@Minor Heretic:

We wanted to be especially clear in Sec 1, but perhaps it would be even clearer just to say only US citizens can contribute to campaigns. Hmmm…that’s definitely something to consider.

Anyone else have an opinion on this?

The grammatical error is fixed. Thanks dude.

Could you elaborate on what you mean by having “referenda” in Sec 1?

That’s something we may do. We’ll keep in it mind. If anyone else has an opinion on this, please share.

Sec 4 and 5 reference the Census that’s taken every 10 years. The Census gives a clear number on median or average income so I don’t see a problem with it. Or maybe I’m not understanding you correctly. You can elaborate if you want.

Maybe you’re right about Sec 7. I mean, I never assumed that corporations couldn’t be sued or own property because of Sec 1, but it was something several people wanted to be made clear. That’s essentially what Sec 7 is, a clarification.

And yes, I love making this shorter while maintaining its strength. But it something we have to do carefully. I’ll review the amendment again and try to make the wording more efficient sometime soon. For now, I just want all our best ideas on the table.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 14:54:41 -0400 · Flag
@Skitz O’Fuel:

Well, I love efficient combination of sections. And that sounds like a good idea. It makes it much simpler. See if you can come up with such a section.
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 14:32:36 -0400 · Flag
@John Nicholson:

That’s been proposed before. TV/radio stations only have so much resources. I think a better idea is to have some sort of public financing of campaigns that’d be adequate in buying ads or air time. What do you think?

@John B. Brown:

It was agreed upon by many that we should focus on the 2 objectives listed above. Our reasoning is that those 2 objectives are clearly address in the initial amendment posted by PAC leadership. It has been suggested we offer 2 separate amendment to deal with 1) corporate personhood, and 2) basic financing caps. That might be a route we take.

I want to add that the campaign finance provisions address the same problem as the corporate personhood provision: the disproportionate influence of the wealthy. Sec 4 ensures an upper limit on a person’s donations so that the super wealthy can’t be giving millions to candidates while the average American can only afford a few hundred. Sec 5 ensures that Corporations can’t give their employees tons of money and force them to donate to a certain candidate, which has been done before. They can do that to an extent, but the cap on total contributions will drastically limit the effectiveness of that tactic.

Do you understand where we’re coming from?

@Skitz O’Fuel:

They almost contradict one another, lol. But I think Sec 7 is like a 1st Amendment, but for corporations and unions and like-entities. They’re stripped of all rights given to ‘persons’ throughout the Constitution. Sec 7, just gives some of it back like the ability to sue and be sued or buy/sell property or to be taxed, which is fair I think.

And yes, I’ll add that congressional enforcement clause right away.

@Issa Haddad:

I don’t think this amendment addresses lobbying explicitly, and personally, I don’t think it should. Remember, when a US citizen calls his/her representative, he/she’s lobbying. But the different between, say, AIPAC lobbying and old grandma lobbying is that AIPAC can threaten to pull funding for campaigns or offer funding, which is common practice. Sec 1 bans all donations from everyone and everything except US citizens so that shouldn’t be a problem. Do you agree?
commented on PAC Members' Revision of 28th Amendment 2011-10-24 04:38:25 -0400 · Flag
@Zain Pradhan:

That would be an issue if this was a bill. It’s not a bill, it’s a Constitutional amendment. The national Congress has no say whatsoever whether or not this would pass or what it would say if a Constitutional Convention is initiated by 2/3rds of the states, which is the plan.

@Jacob:

That sounds like a preamble. If we want, I guess we could come up with one.
commented on State Leaders 2011-10-24 04:34:23 -0400 · Flag
I’ve set up the Wolf-PAC North Dakota Twitter as well.

http://twitter.com/#!/WolfPacND
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