West Virginia Enacts Resolution For A Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United

West Virginia has become the twelfth state to enact a resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment that will reverse Citizens United v. FEC.

The West Virginia resolution, taking note of the strong cross-partisan opposition unlimited election spending and to the fabrication of “corporate rights” in the Constitution, calls on Congress to send to the States for ratification “a constitutional amendment overturning the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and related cases.”

Following an approach endorsed by 75% of Montana voters in the November election, the West Virginia resolution states that the needed Constitutional amendment will:

(1) “establish that corporations and unions are not entitled to the same rights and protections as natural persons under the Constitution”; and

(2) “assure the power of the federal, state and local governments to limit, regulate and require disclosure of sources of all money spent to influence elections.”

The text of the West Virginia resolution is pasted below and also can be found here.

Calling upon the United States Congress to propose a constitutional amendment overturning the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and related cases.

Whereas, In 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that enabled corporations and unions to spend unlimited amountsof money to influence the outcome of our elections; and

Whereas, A subsequent ruling, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, opened the door for individual donors to spend unlimited amounts as well; and

Whereas, The use of so-called Super PACs by wealthy individuals and special interests nationally has driven up the cost of elections to over $6 billion in the federal elections alone and reduced local voices in the democratic process; and

Whereas, In 2012, based upon Citizens United, the U. S. Supreme Court struck down a century-old long-standing Montana campaign finance law, denying states the right to regulate their elections in accordance with their experience of the corrupting influence of money in politics; and

Whereas, The people of West Virginia and all other states should have the power to limit by law the influence of money in their political systems; and

Whereas, On Election Day, 2012, over six million voters across the United States had the opportunity to vote on state and local ballot measures, including the states of Montana and Colorado, calling for a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics, including the entire states of Montana and Colorado, and all proposed resolutions passed with overwhelming and bipartisan support, averaging seventy-five percent of voters in favor; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate calls upon the United States Congress to propose a constitutional amendment overturning the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and related cases; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the West Virginia Senate supports an amendment to the United States Constitution to establish that corporations and unions are not entitled to the same rights and protections as natural persons under the Constitution; and, be it

Further Resolved, That such an amendment should assure the power of the federal, state and local governments to limit, regulate and require disclosure of sources of all money spent to influence elections; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the West Virginia Senate requests that the West Virginia Congressional Delegation support such an amendment, work diligently towards its passage and vote at all stages to advance such legislation in the Congress; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Clerk is hereby directed to forward a copy of this resolution to the Vice President of the United States and the President pro Tempore of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress and to each United States Senator and Member of the House of Representatives from West Virginia.

A press release from Public Citizen is 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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