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:
Total Outside Spending by Election Cycle:
South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend:
Wisconsin United to Amend: