Petition Closed
Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives and 2 others

Pass a Campaign Finance Reform Constitutional Amendment

This petition is one that both Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Streeters can enthusiastically embrace.  It is neither right nor left; Republican or Democrat; it is simply giving more power to United States citizens and thereby making our government better and more democratic.

 

We have a representative form of government but we are not getting the "representation" we deserve because special interests (i.e. "super PACS", wealthy individuals, lobbyists, unions and corporations) give millions of dollars in campaign contributions to candidates and issues with an expectation of getting some kind of legislation passed (or defeated) so as to benefit them (the special interest). This means that special interests are buying influence from those who are elected to represent us and are thereby diminishing the representation we are supposed to be getting from our elected officials.

 

The current situation allows unlimited amounts of special interest donations from anonymous and possibly foreign sources. It allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns as a form of First Amendment “free speech”. It allows groups to organize themselves as non-profits with non-political activities so they do not have to disclose contributors as long as at least 50% of their time and money is spent on nonpolitical efforts.

 

This Amendment will allow us to get around the Supreme Court’s ruling that campaign contributions constitute “free speech” and that non-U.S. citizens and other special interests who reside outside the voting district can come in and try to buy/influence an election. If this Amendment is approved it will fundamentally change the way elections are financed and will, in the process, eviscerate the power of special interests because candidates will no longer be getting their campaign funds from special interests but rather only from the United States citizens that they hope to represent.

 

Other proposed amendments simply do not go far enough.  Passing a Constitutional amendment will be a tough job, so the language must be commensurate with the effort needed to win. The amendment must be comprehensive enough to not only end special interest rule but also to give "the power of the dollar" to the people who will be represented - there's no room here for half solutions or ambiguity. Once an Amendment comes out of Congress we won't get another shot. So we MUST get it right!

 

The proposed amendment is set forth below first in its entirety and then with commentary to explain the language.

 

 

 

Campaign Finance Reform Constitutional Amendment

Notwithstanding anything else in this Constitution, only a natural born or naturalized United States citizen who is at least 16 years of age and has resided in the voting district where the election or vote will take place, for at least 90 consecutive days immediately prior to making a financial contribution, may make a financial or non-financial contribution to a candidate or an issue on the ballot.

The maximum financial contribution that a citizen can make to any candidate or issue is $2,500 in the first year that this Amendment takes effect.  Thereafter, that amount, and the amount set forth in the paragraph below, will be annually increased (or decreased) by the Consumer Price Index.

All financial contributions must be made from the contributor’s own funds.  No money, the source or amount of which is other than as allowed by this Amendment may be used or spent to influence the outcome of an election or a vote.  The first $50 of a financial contribution made to a candidate or issue shall be a credit against the contributor’s Federal income taxes.  The balance of (a) financial contribution(s) made to a candidate or an issue shall be a deduction against the contributor’s income for Federal income tax purposes. 

All contributions must be publicly disclosed within ten days of their receipt.

Nothing in this Amendment shall be construed to restrict or abridge the freedom of the press.

Campaign Finance Reform Constitutional Amendment [With explanatory comments]

Notwithstanding anything else in this Constitution [Comment: This language is to pre-empt the First Amendment’s “Freedom of Speech” clause as presently interpreted by the Supreme Court.], only a natural born or naturalized United States citizen [Comment: This language is to remove all doubt that corporations are qualified “persons” who can contribute to a campaign.] who is at least 16 years of age and has resided in the voting district where the election or vote will take place, for at least 90 consecutive days immediately prior to [Comment: This language  is an “anti-carpetbagging” clause to prevent special interests from “packing” a lightly populated district before an election.] making a financial contribution, may make a financial or non-financial contribution  [Comment: This language is to stop Super PACs which right now can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations (but ostensibly must operate independently of the candidates) from coming in from the outside and trying to influence an election.] to a candidate or an issue on the ballot. [Comment: This language is to make sure that initiatives and referendums are also covered by this Amendment]

The maximum financial contribution that a citizen can make to any candidate or issue is $2,500 in the first year that this Amendment takes effect.  Thereafter, that amount, and the amount set forth in the paragraph below, will be annually increased (or decreased) by the Consumer Price Index. [Comment: If you look at what candidates spend per vote to get elected this Amendment will allow candidates to run very viable campaigns.  This will also prevent the very rich from self-funding a campaign.]

All financial contributions must be made from the contributor’s own funds [Comment: This language is to prevent special interests from making “indirect” contributions]: .  No money, the source or amount of which is other than as allowed by this Amendment may be used or spent to influence the outcome of an election or a vote. [Comment: Again, this language is to stop Super PACs from coming in from the outside and trying to influence/buy an election.]

The first $50 of a financial contribution made to a candidate or issue shall be a credit against the contributor’s Federal income taxes. [Comment:  This is basically public financing of elections but as we all ultimately pay for the cost of government this will make people’s contributions no cost to them and will therefore encourage citizens to donate and get involved in political campaigns.]  The balance of (a) financial contribution(s) made to a candidate or an issue shall be a deduction against the contributor’s income for Federal income tax purposes. [Comment: This is “modified” public financing of elections because a deduction only reduces a person’s taxable income rather than reduces a person’s taxes on a dollar-for-dollar basis.   But again we all ultimately pay for the cost of government this will make citizens’ contributions less costly to them and will therefore encourage them to donate and get involved in political campaigns.] 

All contributions must be publicly disclosed within ten days of their receipt. [Comment: This language is to ensure transparency.]

Nothing in this Amendment shall be construed to restrict or abridge the freedom of the press. [Bloggers and editorial writers will still be free to express their opinions on candidates and issues.]

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
President of the United States
I just signed the following petition addressed to: US Senate and House of Representatives.

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Pass a Campaign Finance Reform Constitutional Amendment

This petition is one that both Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Streeters can enthusiastically embrace. It is neither right nor left; Republican or Democrat; it is simply giving more power to United States citizens and thereby making our government better and more democratic.



We have a representative form of government but we are not getting the "representation" we deserve because special interests (i.e. "super PACS", wealthy individuals, lobbyists, unions and corporations) give millions of dollars in campaign contributions to candidates and issues with an expectation of getting some kind of legislation passed (or defeated) so as to benefit them (the special interest). This means that special interests are buying influence from those who are elected to represent us and are thereby diminishing the representation we are supposed to be getting from our elected officials.



The current situation allows unlimited amounts of special interest donations from anonymous and possibly foreign sources. It allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns as a form of First Amendment “free speech”. It allows groups to organize themselves as non-profits with non-political activities so they do not have to disclose contributors as long as at least 50% of their time and money is spent on nonpolitical efforts.



This Amendment will allow us to get around the Supreme Court’s ruling that campaign contributions constitute “free speech” and that non-U.S. citizens and other special interests who reside outside the voting district can come in and try to buy/influence an election. If this Amendment is approved it will fundamentally change the way elections are financed and will, in the process, eviscerate the power of special interests because candidates will no longer be getting their campaign funds from special interests but rather only from the United States citizens that they hope to represent.



Other proposed amendments simply do not go far enough. Passing a Constitutional amendment will be a tough job, so the language must be commensurate with the effort needed to win. The amendment must be comprehensive enough to not only end special interest rule but also to give "the power of the dollar" to the people who will be represented - there's no room here for half solutions or ambiguity. Once an Amendment comes out of Congress we won't get another shot. So we MUST get it right!



The proposed amendment is set forth below first in its entirety and then with commentary to explain the language.







Campaign Finance Reform Constitutional Amendment







Notwithstanding anything else in this Constitution, only a natural born or naturalized United States citizen who is at least 16 years of age and has resided in the voting district where the election or vote will take place, for at least 90 consecutive days immediately prior to making a financial contribution, may make a financial or non-financial contribution to a candidate or an issue on the ballot.

The maximum financial contribution that a citizen can make to any candidate or issue is $2,500 in the first year that this Amendment takes effect. Thereafter, that amount, and the amount set forth in the paragraph below, will be annually increased (or decreased) by the Consumer Price Index.

All financial contributions must be made from the contributor’s own funds. No money, the source or amount of which is other than as allowed by this Amendment may be used or spent to influence the outcome of an election or a vote. The first $50 of a financial contribution made to a candidate or issue shall be a credit against the contributor’s Federal income taxes. The balance of (a) financial contribution(s) made to a candidate or an issue shall be a deduction against the contributor’s income for Federal income tax purposes.

All contributions must be publicly disclosed within ten days of their receipt.

Nothing in this Amendment shall be construed to restrict or abridge the freedom of the press.

Campaign Finance Reform Constitutional Amendment [With explanatory comments]

Notwithstanding anything else in this Constitution [Comment: This language is to pre-empt the First Amendment’s “Freedom of Speech” clause as presently interpreted by the Supreme Court.], only a natural born or naturalized United States citizen [Comment: This language is to remove all doubt that corporations are qualified “persons” who can contribute to a campaign.] who is at least 16 years of age and has resided in the voting district where the election or vote will take place, for at least 90 consecutive days immediately prior to [Comment: This language is an “anti-carpetbagging” clause to prevent special interests from “packing” a lightly populated district before an election.] making a financial contribution, may make a financial or non-financial contribution [Comment: This language is to stop Super PACs which right now can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations (but ostensibly must operate independently of the candidates) from coming in from the outside and trying to influence an election.] to a candidate or an issue on the ballot. [Comment: This language is to make sure that initiatives and referendums are also covered by this Amendment]

The maximum financial contribution that a citizen can make to any candidate or issue is $2,500 in the first year that this Amendment takes effect. Thereafter, that amount, and the amount set forth in the paragraph below, will be annually increased (or decreased) by the Consumer Price Index. [Comment: If you look at what candidates spend per vote to get elected this Amendment will allow candidates to run very viable campaigns. This will also prevent the very rich from self-funding a campaign.]

All financial contributions must be made from the contributor’s own funds [Comment: This language is to prevent special interests from making “indirect” contributions]: . No money, the source or amount of which is other than as allowed by this Amendment may be used or spent to influence the outcome of an election or a vote. [Comment: Again, this language is to stop Super PACs from coming in from the outside and trying to influence/buy an election.]

The first $50 of a financial contribution made to a candidate or issue shall be a credit against the contributor’s Federal income taxes. [Comment: This is basically public financing of elections but as we all ultimately pay for the cost of government this will make people’s contributions no cost to them and will therefore encourage citizens to donate and get involved in political campaigns.] The balance of (a) financial contribution(s) made to a candidate or an issue shall be a deduction against the contributor’s income for Federal income tax purposes. [Comment: This is “modified” public financing of elections because a deduction only reduces a person’s taxable income rather than reduces a person’s taxes on a dollar-for-dollar basis. But again we all ultimately pay for the cost of government this will make citizens’ contributions less costly to them and will therefore encourage them to donate and get involved in political campaigns.]

All contributions must be publicly disclosed within 10 days of their receipt. [Comment: This language is to ensure transparency.]

Nothing in this Amendment shall be construed to restrict or abridge the freedom of the press. [Bloggers and editorial writers will still be free to express their opinions on candidates and issues.]










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Sincerely,