How do we drain the swamp?

Election summary. People voted against the career politician that racked up all those million dollar contributions. They voted for the guy that’s never held office that said he’d drain the swamp. They’re mad. We’re all mad. Our government is broken. Everyone sees the big-money corruption in our election system. We the People are not being represented. There’s a long list of issues we’re facing today – healthcare reform, tax reform, education, etc. None of them are going to get fixed until our representatives represent us. Right now, all the control is in the hands of the special interests.

These same frustrations are fueling a movement here in Wisconsin and across the nation. It’s the movement to get big money out of politics. The Supreme Court has given constitutional rights meant only for individuals to artificial entities such as corporations and unions and has ruled that money spent to influence the political process cannot be limited. Thus, our government today serves powerful special interests, foreign and domestic, instead of the American people. The Supreme Court has rigged the system to favor billionaires and corporate fat cats. Our founders had a healthy distrust of big corporations and moneyed interests. We not going to fix this mess until we get back to that.

Wisconsin United To Amend is a non-partisan, all volunteer group that helps guide local citizens through the referendum process. In this election, 18 more communities had amendment referenda on their ballots – all over the state and they passed with approvals averaging 85%. Amazing support. That brings the total to 95 communities in Wisconsin and over 700 nationwide.

Voters want to put an end this corruption in our election system. Unfortunately, both parties spend most of their time pandering to the donor class. If you’ve got $100M or more, our government will work for you.

So, we have a nationwide movement demanding an end to crony capitalism and two political parties that just ignore us between campaigns. What do we do? We stay mad. We call our state representatives and tell them to get on board or get out of office. We get in their faces. We vote them out of office and vote in people that really care about this core issue.

Reform movements can take decades. We ended slavery. Women can vote. We recovered from the last Gilded Age. We can fix this too. We’re making tremendous progress. It’s been less the seven years since the disastrous Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. Since then, 18 states have called for an amendment to overturn that decision. In 2014, an amendment got 54 votes in the U.S. Senate.

Decades of negative advertising and party propaganda has resulted in extreme two party polarization. We’re divided, but are we really that much different? We all love our children, we want good education, affordable healthcare, a fair tax system and small efficient government. Don’t listen to the party hacks and the rabid partisans. We need to work together to get America back on track. Our two-party system is another thing that’s broken. We need to look beyond party labels and find good candidates that will stand with the people.

Donald Trump says he wants to drain the swamp of corruption in Washington. Really there’s 50 swamps. And it’s going to take all of us. It’s time to reclaim our republic. To learn more, please visit the Wisconsin United To Amend website at wiuta.org.

 

 

 

 

“Big Money” Impacts Elections

“Big money’s” political influence received a boost in 2010 when the US Supreme Court declared “money is speech” and corporations, unions, and other such groups have “personhood,” that is…the same status as citizens like you and me.  The case is called “Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission,” or “Citizens United,” for short.

Then in 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled certain laws, restricting the amount of money a person could donate to a political campaign, were unreasonable. (McCutchen v. Federal Election Commission).

These two rulings opened the flood gates to unrestricted “big money” in politics.  Sources of the billions of dollars donated in elections became hidden from public view.

If money is free speech, then speech is not free!”

Candidates for public office now spend hours seeking donations from wealthy individuals, corporations, unions and other special interest groups. Most of us don’t think that is right, but don’t know what to do about it.  Here’s one answer…

In a 2014 referendum, 77% of Wausau voters said they wanted “big money” out of politics and supported amending our US Constitution to overturn “Citizens United”.  Today, a total of 95 Wisconsin communities have overwhelmingly passed these resolutions, including 18 passed this November.

So far, 46% of Wisconsin’s Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters have spoken and said, “Get big money out!”  We want our laws and representatives working for our communities and citizens, not for some special interest!

We don’t have anything against the rich, we just don’t want them buying up our politicians. And we aren’t talking about the guy down the street with the big house and big car.  We’re talking about those that have $100 million and more.  It’s not the 1%…it’s the top 0.1%!  This is the group often using their wealth to pressure politicians to create special tax privileges for the wealthy and their corporations while eliminating regulations that protect the general public.

Everyone knows too much money influences our elections.  Politicians are selling their souls for big dollar contributions and today, big corporations seem to do whatever they want.  It’s a mess and everyone knows it.  Income inequality is getting worse.  Middle class dreams are disappearing.  Tax breaks and money flows to a handful of wealthy individuals at the expense of the rest of our citizens!  This is bad for a majority of Americans and bad for the future of our country!

Not everyone’s clear on how we got here, or how to fix it.  Corporate attorneys, Legislators and our Courts have been interpreting, and reinterpreting our Constitution, for over 130 years.  But now, artificial entities such as corporations, unions, super PACs have been given inalienable human rights, just like you and me…real people!  That’s new!

Amending our U.S. Constitution is the best way we can keep “big money” from controlling our government.  Help “Wisconsin United to Amend” push our state legislature into making Wisconsin the 19th state asking for an amendment overturning the effect of “Citizens United!”  Then we can continue the fight into the other 31 states.

—Milt and Rita Pachal, Wausau

 

Eighteen Communities Voted to Amend the U.S. Constitution

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Contact: George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

Eighteen Communities Voted to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (November 9, 2016) – On Tuesday, November 8th, Wisconsin residents in eighteen communities voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only human beings should have inalienable human rights and money is not the same thing as free speech.

All referenda passed with overwhelming majorities: Rock County (86%), Reedsburg (86%), Manitowoc (81%), Delafield (79%), Neshkoro (88%), New Glarus (88%), Spring Valley (91%), Osceola (86%), Mt. Horeb (84%), Monticello (86%), Clayton (86%) and the towns of New Glarus (83%), Harris (65%), Springdale (86%), Decatur (89%), Mount Pleasant (84%), Cadiz (87%) and Lake Tomahawk (91%).

That brings the total to 95 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, 2.7 million people (46% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 18 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 700 towns, villages, cities and counties.

Jeanette Kelty, a leader in Green County, said: “We are extremely pleased that these referenda passed by such high margins. This clearly demonstrates the will of the people. It is time for our state representatives to put this resolution to a statewide vote, and to move towards sending a resolution from Wisconsin to the U.S. Congress.”

Four in five Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, according to a Bloomberg poll. A New York Times/CBS poll from June found that 85 percent of Americans—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—believe we need fundamental changes to our campaign finance system or to completely rebuild it.

Delafield resident Gerry Flakas explained the problem this way: “Big money has absolutely corrupted our system of government of, by, and for the people. The only solution is to amend the Constitution to clarify that money is not speech and a corporation is not a person.”

Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement. For more information visit wiuta.org

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2 and photo3.

Eighteen Communities to Vote to Reclaim Democracy from Special Interests

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Contact: George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

Eighteen Communities to Vote to Reclaim Democracy from Special Interests

Madison, WI (October 24, 2016) – On Tuesday, November 8th, Wisconsin residents in nineteen communities will vote on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that: a corporation is not a person, and money is not speech.

Voters will cast ballots in Rock County, Reedsburg, Manitowoc, Delafield, Neshkoro, New Glarus, Spring Valley, Osceola, Mt. Horeb, Monticello, Clayton and the towns of New Glarus, Harris, Springdale, Decatur, Mount Pleasant, Cadiz and Lake Tomahawk.

If all vote in favor, this will bring to 96 the number of Wisconsin communities that have called for the We The People amendment. Nationwide, 17 state legislatures have done likewise, as have more than 700 towns, villages, cities, and counties.

“We cannot solve any of the pressing issues in front of our country as long as our politicians do not represent us and they won’t until we get the big money out of politics,” said Evan Wright, a reformer in Polk County. “I see reform as the most important effort for my generation and, while I am too young to vote, I can help build the grassroots movement needed to fix it.”

Multiple polls show over 90% of Americans, regardless of party, think special interest money has too much influence in American political campaigns. [1]

“The big money in politics mutes the voices of the citizens, and all our problems will continue until we change that,” said Kathy Bernhart, the United To Amend leader in Manitowoc.

Former State Senator Dale Schultz, summed it up well. “We’re talking about billionaires turning this country into a Russian-style oligarchy, where there are two dozen billionaires who buy the whole political process… we are awash in money because of Citizens United, and it puts good people in both parties in a difficult situation.” [2]

One volunteer, Bill Waser of Reedsburg, expressed frustration: “Citizens in 78 Wisconsin communities have passed resolutions calling for an amendment. We need state legislators to put it on a statewide ballot, but they won’t even let the bills have a public hearing!”

The roots of the problem run deeper than Citizens United. Over a century ago Robert M. La Follette spoke out against corruption wrought by the “concessions and privileges” given to corporations by legislators. “Why,” he asked, “in a government where the people are sovereign, why are these things tolerated?”

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement. For more information: wiuta.org

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2 and photo3.

Contact George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

[1] https://mayday.us/data/20150925_gop_polling_results.pdf

https://mayday.us/data/20150925_dem_polling_results.pdf

http://www.texansunitedtoamend.org/uploads/5/0/8/1/5081028/representus_analysis.pdf

[2] Senator Dale Schultz presentation, March 7, 2014 at the L.D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, WI.

Lopsided Results in Candidate Survey on Citizens United

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Contact: Jim Crist, 608-274-6201, wisconsin@unitedtoamend.org

Lopsided Results in Candidate Survey on Money in Politics

Madison, WI (October 13, 2016) – One of the top issues this election cycle is money in politics. Americans’ job approval rating for Congress hovers near single digits. Over 90% of Americans think special interest money has too much influence in American political campaigns.[1]

The non-partisan citizen-action group, Wisconsin United To Amend, contacted all 185 state Assembly and Senate candidates (most of them multiple times) to determine their level of support for a U.S. Constitutional amendment declaring that free spending is not free speech and only actual human beings have human rights. Of the 185, 68 responded but 117 did not.

The results of the survey were lopsided in terms of respondents — 56 Democrats, nine Independents and three Republicans. Fifteen of the respondents were incumbent Democrats, but there were no incumbent Republicans. The candidates that did respond reported strong support, in the 90% range, for a Constitutional amendment.

Aaron Taylor, an independent assembly candidate from River Falls stated, “Amending the Constitution is a permanent way to reform how campaign finance is currently being conducted, where corporations, lobbyists, and wealthy donors have the ability to buy our State and Federal leaders. We have traveled down the path of money taking away the voice of citizens for too long.”

David Pelikan, another independent candidate from Cedarburg explains, “Our elections are chances for the public to have its voice heard. We shouldn’t be giving corporations a financial megaphone to drown out that democratic voice.”

Wisconsin United To Amend is a non-partisan, all volunteer organization. One volunteer, Bill Waser of Reedsburg, expressed frustration: “Citizens in 78 Wisconsin communities have passed resolutions calling for an amendment. We need state legislators to put it on a statewide ballot, but they won’t even let the bills have a public hearing!”

Due to the efforts by hundreds of volunteers across the state, referenda and resolutions have passed in 78 communities with voter approvals as high as 88%. Nineteen more will be on the November ballot. For more information, visit wiuta.org.

For survey details, including candidate responses, please visit wiuta.org/survey

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2 and photo3.

[1] https://mayday.us/data/20150925_gop_polling_results.pdf

https://mayday.us/data/20150925_dem_polling_results.pdf

http://www.texansunitedtoamend.org/uploads/5/0/8/1/5081028/representus_analysis.pdf

Mt. Pleasant Town Board Votes to Return the Constitution Back to “We The People”

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Mt. Pleasant Town Board Votes to Return the Constitution Back to “We The People”

Town of Mt. Pleasant, Green County, Wisconsin becomes seventh community in county to pass a resolution declaring that money is not speech and corporations are not people.

At the May 16th town meeting, last Monday night, after several presentations by United To Amend at the monthly meetings, the board, in a unanimous vote, passed a resolution asking the U.S. Congress, State legislature, Governor and President to support an amendment which would reverse the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission. The decision granted artificial entities such as corporations and unions the same constitutional rights as natural persons, and equated free speech to money. The resulting flood of campaign cash has corrupted our political process, making our representatives beholden to a small group of moneyed special interests.

The action in Mt. Pleasant comes just 5 weeks after 11 Wisconsin communities overwhelmingly passed similar resolutions by huge margins. By passing a “We the People” style resolution, Town of Mt. Pleasant joins the Green County communities of Exeter, Belleville, York, Clarno, Brodhead and Monroe, for a total of 75 Wisconsin municipalities. Nationwide 16 states and almost 700 communities have done the same.

Local United to Amend volunteers in the Green County area (GCUTA.org) and our allies at Wisconsin United To Amend, (WIUTA.org) would appreciate the opportunity to present to your organization or group of citizens, a slide presentation and discussion on our movement and Citizens United effects on our Democracy.

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement.
Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.
Photos: photo1, photo2 and photo3.

Contacts:
Green County United to Amend (GCUTA.org)
Voicemail (608) 620-1799
DoDemocracy@gmail.com
Co-chairs, Harry Pulliam and Jeanette Kelty
Mt. Pleasant advisor, Tim Sager (608) 335-4051

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Eleven Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

Eleven Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (April 6, 2016) – On Tuesday, April 5th, Wisconsin residents in eleven communities voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that: a corporation is not a person, and money is not speech.

Eleven referenda passed with very solid majorities: Janesville (84%), Beloit (74%), Platteville (84%), Monroe (82%), New London (81%), Lancaster (85%), Brodhead (85%), Darlington (81%), Clarno (85%), York (86%) and Belmont (88%).

This brings the total number of Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment to 72. In total, 2.5 million people (44% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 16 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as almost 700 towns, villages, cities and counties.

After the votes were counted, Ray Spellman, the resolution campaign leader in Darlington said: “We are extremely pleased that these referenda passed by such high margins. This clearly demonstrates the will of the people. It is time for our state representatives to put this resolution to a statewide vote, and to move towards sending a resolution from Wisconsin to the U.S. Congress.”

Four in five Americans—including 80 percent of Republicans—oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, according to a Bloomberg poll. A New York Times/CBS poll from June found that 85 percent of Americans—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—believe we need fundamental changes to our campaign finance system or to completely rebuild it.

Polls consistently show widespread agreement among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans that our system is corrupt and needs fixing. Former State Senator Dale Schultz, summed it up well. “We’re talking about billionaires turning this country into a Russian-style oligarchy, where there are two dozen billionaires who buy the whole political process… we are awash in money because of Citizens United, and it puts good people in both parties in a difficult situation.” [1]

“It is now obvious that we are losing our democracy,” said Nettie McGee, a reformer in Outagamie County. “The huge money in our political system buys our elections and politicians.”

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement. For more information: wiuta.org

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2 and photo3.

Contact George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net


[1] Senator Dale Schultz presentation, March 7, 2014 at the L.D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, WI.

Eleven Communities to Vote to Reclaim Democracy from Special Interests

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

Eleven Communities to Vote to Reclaim Democracy from Special Interests

Madison, WI (March 31, 2016) – On Tuesday, April 5th, Wisconsin residents in eleven communities will vote on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that: a corporation is not a person, and money is not speech.

Voters will cast ballots in Beloit, Janesville, Brodhead, Monroe, Town of Clarno, Town of York, Darlington, Belmont, Platteville, Lancaster, and New London. If all vote in favor, this will bring to 72 the number of Wisconsin communities that have called for the We The People amendment. Nationwide, 16 state legislatures have done likewise, as have more than 680 towns, villages, cities, and counties.

The language of the proposed amendment would allow us to return representation to the people. “Most of our legislators are part of Pay-To-Play politics – they must serve their big-money Funders, not the people. I want my democracy to work for my grandchildren again” says Jeanette Kelty, the United to Amend leader in the Monroe area.

Polls consistently show widespread agreement among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans that our system is corrupt and needs fixing. Former State Senator Dale Schultz, summed it up well. “We’re talking about billionaires turning this country into a Russian-style oligarchy, where there are two dozen billionaires who buy the whole political process… we are awash in money because of Citizens United, and it puts good people in both parties in a difficult situation.” [1]

“It is now obvious that we are losing our democracy,” said Nettie McGee, a reformer in Outagamie County. “The huge money in our political system buys our elections and politicians.”

The roots of the problem run deeper than Citizens United. Over a century ago Robert M. La Follette spoke out against corruption wrought by the “concessions and privileges” given to corporations by legislators. “Why,” he asked, “in a government where the people are sovereign, why are these things tolerated?”

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement. For more information: wiuta.org

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2 and photo3.

Contact George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

 


[1] Senator Dale Schultz presentation, March 7, 2014 at the L.D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, WI.

Please come and help save our democracy!

Please join us Tuesday, January 12th, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm for a meeting of South Central Wisconsin United to Amend. The meeting will be held at the Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd, Madison (map). This is THE core issue of our time. Please come meet the group and find your niche in this growing democracy movement!

Also, there will be an informal public hearing at the Capitol on January 21st (North Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the State Capitol, 10 to noon), which is the 6th anniversary of the horrendous Citizens United decision. This hearing will give Wisconsinites a chance to voice their concerns and express support for real solutions that will get money out of politics and our elections. The first speakers will be Rep. Subeck and Sen. Dave Hansen, who have introduced bills (AJR8/SJR12) calling for a statewide referendum on overturning the 2010 Citizens United ruling. Despite overwhelming bipartisan support to reduce the influence of Big Money in politics, this resolution continues to be denied a public hearing; worse yet, the state legislature recently doubled campaign contribution limits and opened the floodgates for unprecedented amounts of secret, special interest spending in Wisconsin’s elections. The public deserves to be heard. This hearing will give Wisconsinites a chance to voice their concerns and express support for real solutions that will get money out of politics and our elections.

And then, that evening, you’re invited to an Unhappy Birthday Party for Citizens United, 6:30 to 9:30 PM, at the Brocach Irish Pub, 7 W. Main St. on Capitol Square in Madison. Sponsored by South Central Wisconsin United To Amend, it’ll feature Mike Crute of The Devil’s Advocates as MC, Mike McCabe of Blue Jean Nation and John Nichols of The Nation magazine as featured speakers, a couple of other notable speakers (still being confirmed), (soft) classic rock by The Sundogs, a cake, a raffle, networking with fellow advocates of democracy, and the kind of wake that the Irish are famous for. We’re hoping that democracy will sit up in its coffin and loudly proclaim “Hey! I’m not dead yet!”

If you have any questions or comments, just reply to this email. Thanks for all you do!

Al Sulzer & Richard Russell Co-Chairs, South Central Wisconsin United To Amend

Meet at the Capitol and Help Get the Big Money Out of Politics!

Assemble for Redress of Grievances
Thursday January 21, 10 to noon
North Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the State Capitol

Citizens across the State of Wisconsin want to get big money (especially big dark money) out of politics, but the state Legislature continues to ignore widespread and overwhelming calls for a Constitutional amendment to fix the problem. This is an opportunity to show them how serious we are about reclaiming our democracy.

MOVI Rally 2Rep. Lisa Subeck has introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 8, calling for a statewide referendum to determine citizen opinion on whether Wisconsin should support the “We the People” Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision. The Assembly leadership hasn’t scheduled an official hearing on it, so Rep. Subeck has arranged an informal one for 10 AM to noon on Thursday, January 21 (significantly the 6th anniversary of Citizens United). It’ll be in the North Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the State Capitol.

The first speakers would be Rep. Subeck and Sen. Dave Hansen, who has introduced the companion Senate Joint Resolution 12. Then there’d be some notable public figures. Then comes the citizen portion.

We really want a good turnout from outside the Madison area, which will otherwise be well represented. Nobody would be expected to speak for very long — a minute or so at most — but we’d like a lot of them. Ideally, after the hearing is over, each of them would visit the offices of their own representatives and senators and deliver the same message in person — to the elected official in person if possible, to a staff member if not.

And then, that evening, you’re invited to an Unhappy Birthday Party for Citizens United, 6:30 to 9:30 PM, at the Brocach Irish Pub, 7 W. Main St. on Capitol Square in Madison. Sponsored by South Central Wisconsin United To Amend, it’ll feature Mike Crute of The Devil’s Advocates as MC, Mike McCabe of Blue Jean Nation and John Nichols of The Nation magazine as featured speakers, a couple of other notable speakers (still being confirmed), (soft) classic rock by The Sundogs, a cake, a raffle, networking with fellow advocates of democracy, and the kind of wake that the Irish are famous for. We’re hoping that democracy will sit up in its coffin and loudly proclaim “Hey! I’m not dead yet!”

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