Constitutional Amendment Package Introduced in Congress

Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts has introduced a package of two Constitutional amendment bills that would address each of the pieces of the Citizens United v. FEC disaster. (See HJRes 20- Political Equality-Spending and HJRes 21- People have Constitutional Rights)

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Boston, MA- I joined Representative McGovern, Attorney General Martha Coakley, State Senator Jamie Eldridge, State Representatives Cory Atkins, Marty Walz, James O’Day, Professor John Coates, who teaches corporate law at Harvard Law School, David Levine, director of the American Sustainable Business Council, and John Bonifaz, co-founder and director of Free Speech For People.

At a Boston press conference this week, I praised Congressman McGovern’s approach as the best path forward for two reasons.  Together, the Amendment language addresses both (1)  the threat to democracy of  unlimited election spending, without special interest carve-outs, and (2)  the damage of judicial activists fabricating corporate (rather than human) Constitutional rights, in effect imposing a “corporate veto”.  (See Remarks of Jeff Clements, Boston 1-24-13).

Here’s what McGovern’s office says about the Constitutional amendment language:

 HJ Res 20 advances the fundamental principle of political equality for all by empowering Congress and the States to regulate political spending.  It will allow Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that will withstand Constitutional challenges.

The second amendment, HJ Res 21, would overturn Citizens United … [and] not only addresses corporate rights as they pertain to campaign finance, but is broader in scope to clarify that corporations are not people with Constitutional rights.  Importantly, the amendment clearly protects the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association, and all other such rights of the people.

Here’s Rep. McGovern on the House floor, as he introduced the Constitutional amendment package:

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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