Madison Meeting this Tuesday at Sequoya Library

Dear Supporter —

Please join us Tuesday, July 14th, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm for a meeting of South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend. The meeting will be held at the Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd, Madison (map). This is THE core issue of our time and it’s time for all of us to stand up for what’s right. Please come meet the group and find your niche in this growing democracy movement!

Please contact your representatives and tell them you want to see this issue put on a statewide ballot and ask that they co-sponsor AJR8 and SJR12. Finally, please send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Click HERE to see some sample letters. Here are a few talking points:

  • The enormous sums of campaign cash is nothing more than legalized bribery.
  • The huge corporations that are corrupting our political system have usurped the rights of natural people leaving citizens with little influence over the future of our country.
  • A recent poll shows that 97% of Americans are very concerned about the corruption in Congress and want something done about it. If lawmakers stand with the rest of Americans, they can get off the fundraising treadmill and regain control over their own political destiny.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us. Thanks for all you do!

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

Three More Wisconsin Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Three More Wisconsin Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (April 8, 2015) ­ On Tuesday, April 7th, three communities voted in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to make clear that money is not speech and that only real people should have inalienable Constitutional rights. This would reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to big money in elections.

All of the referenda passed with striking majorities: Watertown (69%), Evansville (80%), and the Town of Reedsburg (63%).

This brings the total number of Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment to 57. In total, over 2.4 million people (41% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 16 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 650 towns, villages, cities and other organizations.

After the votes were counted, Brad Geyer, the resolution campaign leader in Watertown said: “Instead of representative government serving the people, increasingly, we have corruption, conflicts of interest and bribery. A handful of people on the US Supreme Court have handed power to the highest bidders. We will overcome this corruption when people step up in enough numbers to show our leaders our true will.”

Polls have shown widespread disapproval of Citizens United across the political spectrum. According to an August 2014 poll, more than three quarters (78%) of voters feel that reducing the influence of money in politics is an important issue.

“I’m very pleased and excited that we got our message across to the people of Evansville,” said Fran Zell, campaign organizer. “We worked hard, but also the people were ready to hear our message. This movement has gained so much momentum across the state. People believing in their power to change things is the crux of the matter.”

“When will the legislators in Madison listen to the people of Wisconsin?” said Bill Waser, leader of the petition drive in the Town of Reedsburg. “I spent over 10 years in our Navy and never once did I hear at morning muster “AT&T, GM, or Walmart. How can you say that a corporation, union, or other nonprofit organization is a person? Sure, made up of people, but so is a city… is a city a person? It’s ridiculous.

Democracy is a living, breathing ideal that needs to be nourished and worked on. Now is time to right this wrong! Stand with your fellow citizens across the land and get this referendum passed in your town, village, or city. We’re here to help you.”

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

Wisconsin United To Amend Background Information:
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WIUTA-Community-Handout.pdf
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Citizen-Lobbying-1-pager.pdf

Press Release: 5th Anniversary of Citizens United

MoveToAmendWI

PRESS RELEASE for Wednesday, January 21, 2015

To mark the 5th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s highly controversial 2010 Citizens United decision, Money Out, Voters In Wisconsin (MOVI) is holding a press conference at 9:00am in the Assembly Parlor Room, at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Following the press conference, MOVI supporters plan to meet with representatives at the Capitol.

Five years ago today, the Supreme Court issued the highly controversial 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. A split Supreme Court—with 5 justices supporting and 4 justices opposing—decided that corporations, unions and other similar entities have the same rights as those reserved for citizens, and therefore, in protection of their First Amendment free speech rights, these corporate entities can contribute unlimited funds to elections. Over the past five years, what have been the consequences of this controversial and far-reaching Supreme Court decision?

Each election cycle since the 2010 Citizens United decision has seen more and more money pouring into the system. Campaigns have become significantly more costly, and perhaps even more significant, in recent elections the candidate with most money has won over 90% of the time. Most of the money in these ever more expensive elections comes from big corporate special interest, who have vastly outpaced the contributions of small donors. In 2014, the Supreme Court further undermined the ability to regulate campaign contributions in the McCutcheon v. FEC case. This ruling struck down aggregate limits on campaign contributions to federal candidates and political committees, making it easier for corporate groups and the super wealthy to contribute large sums directly to candidates and political parties.

According to a 2012 Brennan Center for Justice poll, nearly 70% of Americans believed superPAC spending leads to corruption, and 85% believed that, compared with past elections, the money being spent by political groups in elections was more likely to lead to corruption. Thus, it appears more and more money is pouring into elections and the majority of people believe that all this money is leading to widespread corruption.

The extension of constitutional rights to corporations, unions and other similar entities, often known as “corporate personhood,” has led to other serious issues. Corporations have used their court granted constitutional rights to evade protective regulations and to shun societal obligations. For example, in an effort to avoid environmental protections, the courts have claimed that regulatory inspections violate their Fourth Amendment protections from illegal search and seizures. Corporations have even claimed the First Amendment right to religious freedom, as seen in the 2014 Hobby Lobby case. In this case, a corporation successfully claimed the first amendment right of religious freedom to avoid complying with a government mandate.

With the significant consequences of the Citizens United decision in mind, there is a movement afoot to amend the constitution, to reign in political spending and to end corporate personhood. Nationally, the Move to Amend group is working state-by-state, town-by-town, and ultimately person-by-person to overturn Citizens United by amending the U.S. Constitution. Move to Amend is a national coalition, with more than150 local affiliates and over 370,000 members. Move to Amend supports the We the People Amendment, which clarifies for the Supreme Court and all Americans that money is not speech, and therefore, campaign spending can be regulated; and only human beings—not corporations, unions, and the rest—are entitled to constitutional rights.

“Nearly all Americans share the sentiment that corporations should not have the same rights as people, and big money in politics should be removed,” stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. “It is time for Congress to pass the We the People Amendment and send it to the states for ratification. The leadership of both parties need to realize that their voters are clamoring for this amendment, and we are only going to get louder.”

Thus far, 16 state legislatures have signaled their support in favor of some type of constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision.  Across the country, almost 600 cities, towns, villages, and other organizations have voted in favor of the Move to Amend amendment, often by an overwhelming margin. In Wisconsin’s last election, twelve communities voted in support of an amendment, with every measure garnering at least 70% support. To date, 54 Wisconsin communities that have called for the Move to Amend amendment. In total, 2.4 million people (41% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions.

 “Money in politics affects our lives everyday,” said Donna Richards, a Move to Amend volunteer of Fond du Lac, WI. “We pay too much for healthcare. Our taxes go towards corporate welfare and wars, instead of education and protecting our environment. Our energy policy is dictated by Big Oil, and we can’t even pass reasonable gun background checks because the gun manufacturers have bought half of Congress. This isn’t what democracy looks like.”

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James Hartwick
Wisconsin Move to Amend, Co-chair
jmmccabe9@gmail.com
608.206.3032

Unhappy 5th Birthday, Citizens United!

The 5th anniversary of the disastrous Citizens United decision is this Wednesday, January 21st. United To Amend and Money Out, Voters In Wisconsin has a full day of events planned. Please Join Us!!

8:45 AM – Lobby Day Activist Training @ WISPIRG, 122 State Street, 5th Floor, Madison (map).

9:00 AM – Press Conference – Assembly Gallery Room, Wisconsin State Capitol Building, Madison.

10:45 AM – 2:00 PM: Lobby Day at the Capitol.

2:00-2:30 PM – Debrief, Capitol Routunda.

3:00 PM – Post-Lobbying social hour (Location TBD).

6:30-8:00PM – Unhappy 5th Birthday Party, Citizens United with Mike McCabe, Julie Wells, Kaja Rebane and the Raging Grannies! Meet us at Cargo Coffee, 750 E. Washington Ave, Madison (map).

Twelve Wisconsin Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Twelve Wisconsin Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (November 5, 2014) – On Tuesday, November 4th, twelve communities voted in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to make clear that money is not speech and that only real people should have inalienable Constitutional rights. This would reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to big money in elections.

All twelve referenda passed with overwhelming majorities: Milwaukee County (70%), Dunn County (72%), Green Bay (77%), Appleton (74%), Fond du Lac (73%), Neenah (79%), Menasha (80%), Ripon (79%), Oregon (79%), Stoughton (82%), Wausau (77%), and the Village of Park Ridge (83%).

This brings the total number of Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment to 54. In total, 2.4 million people (41% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 16 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as almost 600 towns, villages, cities and other organizations.

After the votes were counted, Betty Kossik, the resolution campaign leader in Green Bay 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.”

Polls have shown widespread disapproval of Citizens United across the political spectrum. According to an August 2014 poll, more than three quarters (78%) of voters feel that reducing the influence of money in politics is an important issue.

“Money in politics affects our lives everyday”, said Donna Richards of Fond du Lac. “We pay too much for healthcare. Our taxes go towards corporate welfare and wars, instead of education and protecting our environment. Our energy policy is dictated by Big Oil, and we can’t even pass reasonable gun background checks because the gun manufacturers have bought half of Congress. This isn’t what democracy looks like.”

“We need the power of the people to change this situation,” said Katie Schierl, a leader of the petition drive in Neenah and Menasha. “That’s the only way it’s going to happen. This movement is growing all across America – it’s going viral. Everybody, including the politicians, sees the status quo needs to change.”

Marcia Engen, a Move To Amend leader in Appleton agreed. “Congress won’t fix our broken political process by itself. If we want real change, We the People have to stand up and demand it.”

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

Wisconsin United To Amend Background Information:

https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WIUTA-Community-Handout.pdf

https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Citizen-Lobbying-1-pager.pdf

Photos:

https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Milwaukee3.jpg
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Madison4.jpg
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Wausau-Petition-Signer.jpg
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Wausau-MTA.jpg

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A Dozen Communities to Vote on a U.S. Constitutional Amendment Question

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

A Dozen Communities to Vote on a U.S. Constitutional Amendment Question

Madison, WI (October 27, 2014) – On Tuesday, November 4th, Wisconsin residents in twelve 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 Milwaukee County, Dunn County, Green Bay, Appleton, Fond du Lac, Neenah, Menasha, Ripon, Stoughton, Oregon, Wausau and the Village of Park Ridge. If all vote in favor, this will bring to 54 the number of Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. Nationwide, 16 state legislatures have done likewise, as have almost 600 towns, villages, cities, counties and organizations.

The language of the proposed amendment would reverse Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling. “The Supreme Court changed the meaning of the 1st Amendment, and we want it changed back,” said Mary Laan, the Move To Amend leader in Milwaukee County.

“People don’t feel like they’re being represented anymore,” said Rita Pachal, a resident of Wausau. “And, in fact, they’re not. It’s all about the money now.”

Polls consistently show widespread disapproval of Citizens United among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. State Senator Dale Schultz, summed it up this way. “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.”

However, 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” accorded to corporations by legislators. “Why,” he asked, “in a government where the people are sovereign, why are these things tolerated?”

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

Wisconsin United To Amend Background Information:

https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WIUTA-Community-Handout.pdf

https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Citizen-Lobbying-1-pager.pdf

Photos:

https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Milwaukee3.jpg
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Madison4.jpg
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Wausau-Petition-Signer.jpg
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Wausau-MTA.jpg

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The National 28th Amendment Roadshow is Coming to Madison!

Never before in the history of the United States has our system been so openly corrupted by big money. Our democracy has been overtaken by monied interests who have bought favor with politicians, putting up huge roadblocks to any legislation that benefits average Americans. But all over the country people are fighting back and demanding change.

Now is the time to take our government back!

  • Over 80% of Americans support a constitutional amendment.
  • Over 140 groups are working to GET THE MONEY OUT of politics.
  • 16 states and almost 600 cities have called for a constitutional amendment.
  • The 113th Congress proposed 14 amendments.
  • Over 150 members of Congress support a constitutional amendment.

Please join us on Saturday, Sept 6, when the “28th Amendment National Roadshow” comes to the Marquee Theater at Union South on the UW Madison campus (map). This event is being organized by the national Money Out, Voters In (MOVI) organization, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Money Out Voters In Coalition.

At the roadshow, amendment movement leaders and money in politics experts will lead a discussion on the need for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood, end the notion that money is speech and discuss how we can move forward from here.

A $5 donation is requested to participate in the conference. Click here to RSVP now!

The “National Roadshow” is endorsed by Move To Amend and other groups that are working across the country to pass an amendment.

The conference will be taking place Saturday, Sept 6 from 10AM-1PM, and includes a free screening of PAY 2 PLAY: DEMOCRACY’S HIGH STAKES at 2PM.

The day is scheduled so that people can come for the morning session, the afternoon session, or for a full day. Click here for more information and to RSVP! This will be major event with a full day of speakers and opportunities to network amongst activists who care about this issue.

We hope to see you there!

Udall Amendment SJR19 is Seriously Flawed

SJR19 is a weak half measure! We need to abolish corporate constitutional rights. This is an historic opportunity to repair our Constitution and we will only have one chance to get it right. The Constitution originally established the hierarchy: We the People –> Government –> Corporations. What we have now is Corporations –> Government –> We the People. It’s no wonder everyone hates the government and thinks the country is on the wrong track. We have nothing against corporations, but with the help of the Supreme Court, the financial elites and the huge transnational corporations have taken control of our country. Not only do they control the purse strings for most of our politicians, they are using their rights as “people” to:

  • Refuse disclosure of what’s in their products.
  • Freely advertise harmful products.
  • Pollute our air and water while avoiding government inspections.
  • Force chain stores into locations where communities don’t want them.
  • Avoid subpoenas for price fixing or unlawful trade.
  • Refuse birth-control to employees, based on the company’s religious rights.

Corporations are supposed to have privileges, not human rights. The legal framework for this still exists, so abolishing corporate constitutional rights would not be a difficult transition. For more background on these topics, please read:

SJR19 makes a weak attempt to address the campaign finance aspects of today’s problems, but we need to put our Constitution back to what our Founder’s intended. Fortunately, on June 18th, another step in the right direction was taken by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here is the improved language. But it still falls short of what is needed. Move To Amend cannot support an amendment that doesn’t end corporate constitutional rights and makes explicit that money is not speech. This proposed language permits regulation of these issues but doesn’t require it.

We would like to see the Senate adopt more definitive language, like that found in the Move To Amend “We the People” amendment, HJR29, which was introduced last year in the House by Mark Pocan and Rick Nolan. In addition, we would like the Senate to introduce our HJR29 amendment into the next session of Congress.

Thirteen Communities Vote for Constitutional Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: wisconsin@movetoamend.org

Thirteen Communities Vote for Constitutional Amendment

Madison, WI (April 1, 2014) – On Tuesday, April 1, 13 communities voted in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to make clear that corporations are not people and money is not speech. These two ideas were the basis of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to big money in elections.

All 13 referenda passed with solid majorities: Waukesha (69%), Wauwatosa (64%), Whitefish Bay (65%), Shorewood (76%), Waunakee (79%), Edgerton (87%), Lake Mills (73%), Elkhorn (69%), Delavan (76%), Belleville (85%), De Forest (70%), Windsor (71%) and Waterloo (61%). This brings the total number of communities in Wisconsin that have called for an amendment to 41. In the country as a whole, 16 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 500 towns, cities and other organizations.

“An amendment saying that corporations aren’t people, money isn’t speech, and political expenditures can be regulated is common sense,” said Scott Trindl of Waukesha, “I think our founding fathers would agree.”

Polls have shown widespread disapproval of Citizens United among Democrats, Independents and Republicans, and strong support for an amendment to reverse it.

“The citizens of Edgerton know the difference between corporations and humans and the difference between money and speech,” said Margie Jessup, a Move to Amend volunteer in Edgerton. “Anyone who works for a living and get paid with a speech could tell you what the difference is.”

“The call for an amendment grows stronger with every passing election,” said George Penn, Volunteer Coordinator for South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend (SCWMTA). “People are not happy with the current system. It’s time to reverse the Citizens United decision, and to limit the influence of money in politics.”

For more information:

Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll on campaign spending limits (see page 21):
http://ap-gfkpoll.com/main/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/AP-NCC-Poll-August-GfK-2012-Topline-FINAL_1st-release.pdf

Half in U.S. Support Publicly Financed Federal Campaigns and 79% of Americans Would Limit Campaign Fundraising:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/163208/half-support-publicly-financed-federal-campaigns.aspx

Total Outside Spending by Election Cycle:
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/reports/citizens_united.php

South Central Wisconsin United to Amend:
https://wiuta.org/scwuta

Wisconsin United to Amend:
https://wiuta.org/

Wisconsin communities (before April 1) that have passed Amendment resolutions and referendums:
https://wiuta.org/resources/wisconsin-ready-to-amend/

Photo:
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Wauwatosa-April-1st.jpg

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Thirteen Communities To Vote on Citizens United April 1st

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jim Crist, 608-274-6201 / 608-213-3201

Thirteen Communities Vote For Democracy on April 1st

Madison, WI (March 31, 2014) – On Tuesday, April 1, Wisconsin residents in 13 communities will vote on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

Voters will cast ballots in Waukesha, Wauwatosa, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, Waunakee, Edgerton, Lake Mills, Elkhorn, Delavan, Belleville, De Forest, Waterloo and Windsor.

If all vote in favor, this will bring to 41 the number of Wisconsin communities and governmental bodies that have called for an amendment. Nationwide, 16 state legislatures have done likewise, as have over 500 towns, cities and other organizations.

The language of the amendment would effectively reverse Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling.

“I was, and am, appalled by that decision,” said Jim Crist, board member of Wisconsin United to Amend (WIUTA). “Moneyed interests were already distorting our representative democracy, but that decision triggered unprecedented spending by special interests.”

Polls consistently show widespread disapproval of Citizens United among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Politicians from both major parties have called for reforms.

“I always thought that businesses did not have a significant voice and that their voices should be heard in the public square,” said Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) during a recent public forum. “Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think businesses would buy the public square.”

Schultz has decided not to run for re-election. “We are awash in money because of Citizens United,” he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “and it puts good people in both parties in a difficult situation.”

Over a century ago, another Republican and Wisconsin’s most celebrated progressive, Robert M. La Follette, spoke out against corruption wrought by the ‘concessions and privileges’ accorded to corporations by legislators. His question posed in an 1897 speech resonates today.

“Why,” said La Follette, “in a government where the people are sovereign, why are these things tolerated?”

For more information:
Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll on campaign spending limits:
http://ap-gfkpoll.com/main/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/AP-NCC-Poll-August-GfK-2012-Topline-FINAL_1st-release.pdf

Total Outside Spending by Election Cycle:
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/reports/citizens_united.php

South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend:
http://scwmta.org/

Wisconsin United to Amend:
https://wiuta.org/

Wisconsin communities (before April 1) that have passed Amendment resolutions and referendums:
https://wiuta.org/resources/wisconsin-ready-to-amend/

Photo:
https://wiuta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Wauwatosa-April-1st.jpg

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