Thursday, January 16, 2014

SMAC joins statewide push for U.S. constitutional amendment limiting campaign contributions

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 12:09 PM

click to enlarge smac_2_copy.jpg

When a group of local activists looked to start reforming campaign finance law right herein Spokane, they were swiftly shushed by a group of business interests and a court ruling. Now, they're taking their ideas to the next stage, joining a statewide group focused on the same issue.

Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution announced Thursday that it's joining Washington Moves to Amend (or WAmend) in pushing for a statewide initiative that would call for a national constitutional change. The initiative, if passed, is meant to show Washington's support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifying that corporations should not be given the same free speech protections as individuals. (The issue has become an especially controversial one since the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.) Find the full initiative text here.

The local group plans to formally launch its signature gathering efforts Feb. 8 at the downtown library.

Here's the full announcement from SMAC:

Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution (SMAC) is joining the statewide organization, Washington Moves To Amend (WAmend) in introducing an initiative calling for a USConstitutional Amendment.  This initiative would put Washington State on record with the increasing number of states (16 so far) that have already called for a ConstitutionalAmendment with the purpose of restoring democracy to our electoral process and rights to living, breathing persons.

The “We the People” initiative formally declares that the people of Washington State support amending the U.S. Constitution to reduce the influence of special interests and money on elections and government policy.  To accomplish this, such an amendment must establish that citizenship rights apply only to natural persons, that money is not constitutionally protected speech, and that all contributions, expenditures and use of money in political campaigns maybe regulated by federal, state and local laws.

Former County Commissioner, Bonnie Mager, called the "We The People Amendment," the most important action that citizens can take to restore democracy to our electoral processShe said, "the first step forward is for the people of Washington State to join the movement sweeping the nation calling for an amendment to the US Constitution that will restore the definition of personhood to live persons—-as was intended by our forefathers—-and revoke the notion that unlimited expenditures of money in campaigns is protected as free speech.

Reverend Todd Eklof provides the following reason in support of this act: “Income equality has suddenly and rapidly emerged as the number one social concern of our day, but inequality has always been at the core of any injustice. Today, as throughout human history, we are called upon to make certain all people are treated equally, with equal opportunities among their neighbors and an equal voice in their government!"

The “We the People” initiative is sponsored by WAmend, a Washington State Coalition of over20 member organizations(4). It has established the goal of gathering 340,000 signatures statewide to put the initiative to a vote this November. Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution (SMAC) is a member of the coalition that will spearhead this effort in Spokane and Eastern Washington.

Occupy Spokane will hold a rally in support of this effort on Saturday, February 8th at 12:00noon in front of the Federal building. Several speakers are lined up for this event. This will be followed at 1:00pm by a "Lunch and Launch" at the Spokane Downtown Library. SMAC will disseminate petitions and provide a brief training for signature gatherers. Volunteer signature gatherers are encouraged to attend both. For more information on the rally, contact Valerie at 624-3872. Persons who wish to work as volunteer petitioners should contact Mary Murphy at 280-1432.

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