Business Leaders Back Bi-partisan People’s Rights Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Some news of the week: Some of America’s smartest business leaders are supporting the People’s Rights Amendment to overturn Citizens United and “corporate speech” theories of the First Amendment. And Free Speech for People announced this week that the People’s Rights Amendment now has bipartisan support, with North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones joining several Democratic Representatives in co-sponsoring the People’s Rights Amendment introduced by Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern.

Successful capitalists such as Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream) Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia),  Gary Hirshberg (Stonyfield Farms Inc.) and Sandy Wiggins (e3bank) have joined the campaign for a the 28th Amendment because they know that corporate abuse of our Bill of Rights and domination of our government are not good for business or the innovative economy. Pay to play politics and a corporate veto on public interest laws promotes crony capitalism and unfair market concentration, where global corporations with billions of dollars to spare for election influence and lobbying can squeeze out competitors and innovators.

The American Sustainable Business Council and Free Speech for People have put together a Frequently Asked Questions for businesspeople and others interested in the People’s Rights Amendment. The 8-page document (available here) addresses a number of questions, and shows why the concept of giving corporations the rights of people under our Constitution has nothing to do with helping businesses compete or non-profit corporations function well.

It turns out Citizens United is not only bad for republican democracy; it’s bad for a working economy.  Businesspeople can sign on to the “Business for Democracy” effort here. 

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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