Citizens United Advisory Referendum to be Introduced

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

Citizens United Advisory Referendum to be Introduced

Rep. Subeck, Sen. Hansen back giving voters a voice

MADISON — On Wednesday, April 19th, two lawmakers will introduce resolutions that would create a Citizens United advisory referendum asking voters if they support putting limits on the corrupting influence big money has in political campaigns.

The Money Out, Voters In coalition, which backs the bill, includes 34 grassroots organizations in Wisconsin. The non-binding referendum would give voters the opportunity to advise their legislators of their position of allowing corporations, unions and other artificial entities to spend money to influence the outcomes of Wisconsin elections.

“When our Founding Fathers envisioned the right to free speech, I certainly don’t think they were envisioning major corporations spending millions of dollars to influence elections,” said Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), the Assembly lead author of the bill. “Corporations should be using their profits to put America back to work, not to buy our public elections.”

In the most recent election cycle, outside spending on federal elections reached $1.4 billion, ten times more than the 2008 election cycle. Much of this money comes from a handful of billionaires. Approximately, $6.5 billion dollars was spent on the 2016 federal elections.

“It doesn’t matter what part of the state you live in, the overwhelming flood of money pouring into our state to influence our elections is a major concern,” said Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), who is the lead Senate author of the bill. “Candidates no longer have control over their own campaigns and the voters have no true sense of where candidates stand on the issues anymore. It’s time to let the voters be heard on this critical threat to our democracy.”

Rep. Subeck and Sen. Hansen gathered more than 30 co-sponsors of the bill and expect to formally introduce the bill Wednesday at 11:30, in the Assembly Parlor, which is on the 2nd floor of the west wing in the state capitol. The bills are currently designated as LRB-176 and LRB-1138.

In the 2010 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court sided with the wealthy elite against the interests of the American people. More than 5 million people have signed petitions expressing their strong opposition to Citizens United. Over 730 communities across the U.S. have passed resolutions and 18 states have called for a constitutional amendment. Wisconsin United To Amend has been a champion of reform, supporting citizen activists around the state. A total of 105 communities in Wisconsin have passed referenda and resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment. In total, 2.8 million people (49% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. The amendment would clarify that:

  • The rights protected in the Constitution are those of individual human beings only
  • The spending of money is not speech, and political spending can be limited to allow all Americans to participate in the democratic process

United To Amend is a non-partisan, all volunteer, grassroots organization.

For more information visit wiuta.org

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

Photos: photo1, photo2, photo3, photo4, photo5, photo6 and photo7.

Eight More Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

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

Eight More Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (April 5, 2017) – On Tuesday, April 4th, Wisconsin residents in eight 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: Racine (81%), Monona (91%), Fox Crossing (81%), Blue Mounds (88%) and the towns of Crystal Lake (79%), Caledonia in Waupaca County (70%), Blue Mounds (84%) and Jordan (71%). It was not on the ballot in the town of Neshkoro, as previously reported.

That brings the total to 105 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, 2.8 million people (48% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 18 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 730 towns, villages, cities and counties.

Nancy Schanke, a leader in Waupaca County, said: “These referenda consistently pass with amazingly 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.”

On Wednesday, April 19th, Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. Dave Hansen will introduce resolutions that would create a statewide Citizens United advisory referendum asking voters if they support allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. For more information, see press release.

Jeff Zdrale, a resident of Fox Crossing, explained that: “We need limits on how much money can be contributed and spent on political races. Only people have a constitutional right to free speech. Money is not ‘political speech’ under the First Amendment.”

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.

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, photo3, photo4, photo5, photo6 and photo7.

Nine Communities to Vote to Reclaim Democracy from Moneyed Interests

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

Nine Communities to Vote to Reclaim Democracy from Moneyed Interests

Madison, WI (March 27, 2017) – On Tuesday, April 4th, Wisconsin residents in nine communities will vote on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only humans should have constitutional rights and that money is not the same as speech and political spending can be limited to allow all Americans to participate in the democratic process.

Voters will cast ballots in Racine, Monona, Blue Mounds, Fox Crossing and the towns of Neshkoro (Marquette), Crystal Lake (Marquette), Caledonia (Waupaca), Blue Mounds (Dane) and Jordan (Green).

If all vote in favor, 106 Wisconsin communities will have called for the We The People amendment. Nationwide, 18 state legislatures have done likewise, as have more than 730 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 Racine resident Bill Earley.

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

“The vast majority of voters know their voices aren’t being heard by their representatives. Politicians take their orders from the moneyed interests that keep them in office,” said Karen Ingvoldstat, a reformer in Marquette County.

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, Waltraud Brinkmann of Monona, expressed frustration: “Citizens in 97 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. Link to this press release.

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.

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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

###

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

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