OCCUPIED Amendment to end corporate money in politics

As a testament to the growing influence of the Occupied movement, on November 18, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced a constitutional amendment that would ban corporate money in politics and end corporate personhood once and for all.

According to Rep. Deutch’s website, his amendment, called the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, would do four things:

  • Make clear that free speech and other constitutionally protected rights are those of natural persons and not corporations or entities formed to promote their business interests.
  • Reaffirm that corporations are formed under the laws of Congress and the States and are thus subject to laws enacted to protect the environment, ensure public health, and other safeguards for the people.
  • Overturn Citizens United by ending corporations’ ability to spend unlimited amounts of their general treasury funds in elections.
  • Sets the stage for real campaign finance reform by reasserting the authority of Congress to regulate all election contributions and expenditures, including those of individuals and groups funneling money anonymously to influence elections.

Rep. Ted Deutch had this to say:

No matter how long protesters camp out across America, big banks will continue to pour money into shadow groups promoting candidates more likely to slash Medicaid for poor children than help families facing foreclosure. No matter how strongly Ohio families fight for basic fairness for workers, the Koch Brothers will continue to pour millions into campaigns aimed at protecting the wealthiest 1%. No matter how fed up seniors in South Florida are with an agenda that puts oil subsidies ahead of Social Security and Medicare, corporations will continue to fund massive publicity campaigns and malicious attack ads against the public interest. Americans of all stripes agree that for far too long, corporations have occupied Washington and drowned out the voices of the people. I introduced the OCCUPIED Amendment because the days of corporate control of our democracy. It is time to return the nation’s capital and our democracy to the people.

For a copy of the amendment, click here. For a detailed explanation, click here.

Public interest groups praise Rep. Deutch’s amendment:

The organization, Public Citizen, enthusiastically applauded and endorsed Representative Ted Deutch’s proposed constitutional amendment, which, it feels, would comprehensively repair the damage done to our democracy by Citizens United. Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy supports the amendment and reiterated that for-profit corporations are not people and thus are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people. Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of Policy and Programs for People for the American Way praised Representative Deutch’s amendment calling it a positive step toward ensuring that our elected officials remain accountable to all of the people, not just the wealthy, and not to large and powerful corporate interests. She feels amending the constitution is the best tool we have to protect that democracy for the American people.