Free Speech for People moves forward in Washington State

At my urging, Senator Jacobsen has introduced a Senate Joint Memorial asking for Congress to submit to the states a Federal Constitutional Amendment limiting the political activities of Corporations.  The bill has been sent to the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee, where Darlene Fairley from your district is the chair.  Can I get your help to push this through committee AS FAST AS POSSIBLE before first cutoff goes by and we miss the opportunity for this year?


Please read the bill as submitted.  As you can see, this is one of the most critical issues that we have ever dealt with in this country in over 230 years.  This is literally a "Drop Everything" moment.  I'm not joking.  Specific actions to take are below the text of the bill.


State of Washington 61st Legislature 2010 Regular Session
By Senator Jacobsen


We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations; and

WHEREAS, For the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has misinterpreted the First Amendment favoring the corporations' agenda over the people's voice; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from freely spending their general treasury funds for purposes of electioneering communications or direct contributions to candidates for public office; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now permit unprecedented spending of corporate money in our political process unrivaled by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history; and

WHEREAS, An individual can use his or her money to speak on his or her singular behalf, the money corporations use to speak belongs to its shareholders, who presumably come from disparate political ideologies; and

WHEREAS, It took over one million individual donors to raise about seven hundred fifty million dollars for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately five percent of ExxonMobil's third quarter profits in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately five percent of Bank of America's profits in 2007; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 18 percent of Bank of America's profits in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 37.5 percent of Goldman Sachs's first quarter profits in 2009; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 18 percent of JPMorgan Chase's third quarter profits in 2009; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately 25 percent of Ford's profits in 2009; and

WHEREAS, Seven hundred fifty million dollars is approximately five percent of Philip Morris's profits in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Individual shareholders will now be inextricably absorbed into the corporation's powerful political action, regardless of their individual political beliefs and affiliations; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC threatens to dilute an individual's power as a voting citizen and compromise the democratic process; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;

WHEREAS, The people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;

NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memoralists respectfully pray that Congress, in accordance with Article V of the Constitution of the United States, immediately transmit to the several states for ratification an amendment to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution so that corporations will not be considered as persons for the purposes of electioneering communications or direct contributions to candidates for public office.

BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.

So how do we push this through?  The bill is currently in the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee.  Here are the members:

Fairley, Darlene (D-32) ChairJAC 227(360) 786-7662
Oemig, Eric (D-45) Vice ChairLEG 416(360) 786-7672
Roach, Pam (R-31) RankingINB 202(360) 786-7660
Benton, Don (R-17)INB 109B(360) 786-7632
McDermott, Joe (D-34)JAC 230(360) 786-7667
Pridemore, Craig (D-49)JAC 212(360) 786-7696
Swecker, Dan (R-20)INB 103(360) 786-7638

Government Operations & Elections
439 J.A. Cherberg Bldg., P.O. Box 40466, Olympia, WA 98504-0466
Telephone: 360-786-7432 / Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000

If you live in one of the districts represented above, please contact your Senators office directly and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bill.  Then we need EVERYONE to call the committee office itself and ask that SJM 8027 be put on the hearings schedule as soon as possible so it can then be scheduled for a vote in committee.  The first cutoff, where all bills must be out of the first committee, is tomorrow, February 5th.  So this is a drop everything moment to get this done.  The Senate and House leadership could choose to waive the cutoff rules, but that's not a sure bet.  Let's do the work.

< Why do Republicans Oppose Fair Elections? | Why Democrats Must Join The "Tea Party" >
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Senator Cantwell has also taken action. I received this email from Craig Salins of Wash Clean:


Senator Maria Cantwell has signed on as a Senate co-sponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), S.752 - joining Senator Dick Durbin (original sponsor) and other Senate colleagues for a total of nine.
In the Senate, others so far are:  Sens. Barbara Boxer, Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom Harking, John Kerry, and Arlen Specter.

The House companion bill, HR 1826, is up to 129.
On our website, details here.  Click on the Bill Tracking icons, to see a list of co-sponsors for each.
Great thanks to all of you who have lobbied her (and her staff) with your calls, letters and emails - including the Spokane folks who arranged a recent meeting with her staff to press this issue.

Beware the power of the people, organized!
Let's again ask Sen. Patty Murray to climb aboard - and our other federal lawmakers from Washington state.  Contact info here:  www.washclean.org/contactcongress.htm

Here's a thought:
  Remember, each year we give an "Organization of the Year Award" to the group or organization - local, state or national - which (in the opinion of the WPC Board of Directors) has done the most to advance the cause of public financing of campaigns at every level, thereby helping to restore democracy through a government and Congress that's not for sale.

Perhaps that award this year should go to the United States Supreme Court! - recognizing that their ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, has topped nearly everything else in driving public awareness and citizen mobilization to our side!

Think we might get Justice Alito to attend, and receive the award?
(OK - kidding)
~ Craig
Craig Salins
Washington Public Campaigns

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Can I get your assistance to push this through council AS FAST AS POSSIBLE before first cutoff passes by and we miss the chance during the current year?

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