Montana Rebellion Against Citizens United Grows

Montana’s rebellion against the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC and the corporate take-over of the Bill of Rights continues. In Missoula, the City Council voted last August to send a referendum to the voters which would condemn Citizens United and call on Congress to send a Constitutional amendment overturning the decision to the states for ratification. The 28th Amendment would make clear that people, not corporations, have Constitutional rights.  Yesterday, the voters had their say, and 75% voted in favor of the resolution and a Constitutional amendment. Kelia Szpaller of the Missoulian reports the story here.

The 75% approval of a Constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United tracks national polls showing similar margins of Americans across the political spectrum favor the 28th Amendment to reverse “corporate rights.” (Free Speech for People’s poll by Peter Hart showing 75% support for a Constitutional amendment can be downloaded at  www.freespeechforpeople.org.) Corporations increasingly have used the fabrication of Constitutional doctrines such as “corporate speech” to strike down election, environmental, public health, financial, and other laws in recent years. This culminated in the 2010 Citizens United decision striking down the bipartisan McCain-Feingold federal law restricting corporate spending in federal elections.

The vote in Missoula comes as Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock continues to defend litigation attacking Montana’s century-old ban on election spending by corporations. AG Bullock argued the case in the Montana Supreme Court in September, and a decision is expected in the coming weeks or months. Montana was joined in its defense of the right of the people and the states to keep corporations out of politics by a wide range of businesses, the state ACLU chapter, and others. Briefs can be read at the Montana Supreme Court website (search under Opinions/Briefs under the party name, Western Tradition Partnership v. Attorney General).

Missoula joins several other cities and towns passing Amendment resolutions by wide margins. The effort was led by City Councilors such as Jason Wiener and Cynthia Wolken, and local supporters of Move to AmendFree Speech for People, Common Cause, and others.

About Jeff Clements

Jeff Clements is co-founder and chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, challenge excessive corporate power, and strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He co-founded Free Speech For People in 2010, after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case. Jeff has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 staff in the enforcement of environmental, healthcare, financial services, civil rights, antitrust and consumer protection laws. In private practice, Jeff has been a partner at Mintz Levin in Boston, and in his own firm. Jeff also has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards, including that of the Portland Water District, a public agency responsible for protecting and delivering safe drinking water and ensuring proper treatment of wastewater for 160,000 people; Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental organization he co-founded with others to protect and enhance stewardship of Maine’s Casco Bay; and The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2012, Jeff co-founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides cost-effective capital to farmers and businesses engaged in local, sustainable agriculture. Jeff graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College in 1984, and magna cum laude from the Cornell Law School in 1988. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife and three children. Jeff Clements Twitter: @ClementsJeff Email: jclements@freespeechforpeople.org
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