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Democratic Candidates Must Address Campaign Finance Reform


Democratic Candidates Must Address Campaign Finance Reform

David Donnelly

At the second Republican presidential primary debate in California, Jeb Bush was asked whether he's a puppet of big donors. He said no, obviously. Politicians aren't allowed to admit their donors influence them, even though most Americans believe they do.

CNN's Jake Tapper was right to ask about money in politics at the debate. It's increasingly becoming a major issue on both sides of the campaign, with candidates offering any number of policies to address the problem and criticizing others for their ties to donors and special interests.


Seeing how US media is one of the primary beneficiaries of the current billion dollar campaign culture, don't expect them to ask any "serious, probing questions" about campaign finance.


Bernie Sanders is addressing campaign finance reform!


A better question would be, "Mrs. Clinton, in light of the fact that your campaign depends on large donations by members of the 1%, while Mr. Sanders' campaign is financed by thousands of small donations averaging about $25.00, isn't it more likely that people will question your independence from special interests, more than Mr. Sanders, especially in light of your connection to Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin, among others, on Wall Street?"


It is NO LONGER ENOUGH for a political candidate to say "We must overturn Citizens United." That was a GREAT response in 2010. And, it was an OK response in 2012. But today, it is NOT enough.

We, as educated voters, need to be savvy enough to ask ALL political candidates, including the political candidates that we support - "What, specifically, is your plan for overturning Citizens United?" If those candidates do NOT say "I support a constitutional amendment that says two things, clearly and unequivocally: 1) inalienable constitutional rights belong to natural human beings, only, and not to artificial legal entities, such as corporations and labor unions; and, 2) that money is not speech, and thus, political fundraising, and political spending, can, and should be, regulated" we need to tell them that their proposals are NOT good enough.

Move to Amend's "We the People Amendment" is the ONLY proposed constitutional amendment currently before Congress (House Joint Resolution 48) that says those two things. You can read the We the People Amendment at https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment.

NONE of the Democratic Party Presidential candidates have signed on co-sponsor HJR 48. Not even Bernie Sanders. Bernie's proposed constitutional amendment addresses getting the money out of politics, only. It is SILENT on the equally destructive issue of "Corporate Constitutional Rights."

The GMO labeling debate clearly illustrates why any proposed constitutional amendment needs to say BOTH "Corporations are NOT People!" and "Money is NOT Speech!"

If we got ALL of the outside money out of politics tomorrow, and we got our lawmakers to pass a strong, but reasonable, law that says, food containing GMOs need to be clearly labeled, the very first thing that Monsanto would do is to go to Federal Court, and sue us, saying that "requiring them to accurately label their products, is requiring them to speak, and is a violation of Monsanto's "corporate constituional rights" under 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments.

And, the reason we KNOW that is the first thing they would do, is because that is the first thing they DID DO, a few years ago, when Vermont passed its GMO labeling law.

Getting ALL of the money out of politics won't do ANYTHING to stop corporations from using other corporate constitutional rights that have nothing to do with money in politics, from using the Courts to veto our reasonable, democratically enacted, laws and regulations.

The time for HALF-MEASURES is over. We need to tell Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, that ANY proposed constitutional amendment MUST address BOTH of the Supreme-Court-created legal doctrines - "corporate constitutional rights" and "money as speech" - that are plaguing our democratic republic.

Steve Justino
Chair, Colorado Move to Amend


brother justino,

good to hear from a fellow coloradan. that said, the model of politics that holds that "telling" a politician anything effectively alters policy is probably not the wisest model to employ.

assuming you can even breach the iron wall of wealth that guards this sham system, you will still need actual leverage to force politicians to work for you rather than their paymasters.

there are very few tools in that box for ordinary mortals. If you want to drive for an amendment--which is now probably the single most difficult non-violent political objective to achieve--you will have to make both parties mortally afraid for their careers.

You can do this in one of two ways: the first way is to galavanize a national movement to vote out every incumbent every 2-6 years until Congress and the states pass this amendment. The flaw in this approach is that the revolving door minimizes the impact of this threat, especially for Senators. The other option is to wreck the legitimacy of the State by withholding votes en mass by engaging in an election boycott, with the demand that voting will not resume at serious levels until our system is returned to us and political options are opened up for a larger range of ideas.

Other than that, take to the hills.


To address campaign finance reform, get ideas from our 300 million people, not just from a few public figures. I would humbly like to offer one:

"UBER VOTING" can change everything. If we can vote by mail, we should also be able to cast our encrypted vote by touching a key on our smart phone and retain a copy.

Nothing could raise voter turnout and enhance democracy more.


Not to mention that Bill Clinton's 8 figure post presidential annual income ($17 million in 2013) from corporate "speaking fees" will be threatened if Hillary makes anything more than token motions to control the corporations that continue to pay those "fees" as payback for the boatloads of corporate welfare and "deregulation" (mostly decriminalization) that President Clinton showered on corporations.


Today NPR keeps reminding listeners that "front runner" Clinton will be front and center in the debate while others will be relegated to the peanut gallery positions. NPR also keep reminding us that Clinton is the only debate participant who has ever appeared before such a large audience.