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Activists statewide propose warrants to get corporate money out of politics

Maureen Quinn says big money in politics is a threat to democracy. And she hopes her fellow Deerfield residents will join her Tuesday in supporting a warrant article asking federal and state leaders to put a stop to it.

“I see our political system going down a really dangerous path. It’s not the people of this country any longer – the voters of the country – who are deciding what issues are being brought to the fore and given attention by legislators both at the state and federal level,” Quinn said.

Deerfield is one of at least 56 New Hampshire communities that will vote on warrant articles at Town Meeting aimed at dismantling a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, better known as the Citizens United case, that allowed for unlimited spending by corporations and labor unions in federal elections. The Coalition for Open Democracy and Public Citizen, two groups that oppose money in politics, are organizing the effort and have helped citizens across the state craft petitions with similar language.

The Deerfield warrant article calls on the state Legislature to seek a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right of citizens and representatives to regulate political spending and “clarifies that constitutional rights were established for people, not corporations.” It urges New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to support such an amendment. Sixteen states have formally called for a similar constitutional amendment. There is also a bill in the state Senate that would create a committee tasked with reviewing other state’s amendments and making recommendations to New Hampshire’s congressional delegation about what approaches it should support.

New Hampshire communities pursuing this at town meeting include Henniker, Tilton, Warner, Northwood, Webster, Bristol, Barnstead and Andover. Conway passed this warrant article last year, making it the first New Hampshire community to do so, said Olivia Zink of the Coalition for Open Democracy. The citizens who are proposing these warrant articles say calling for a change at the local level is key to showing the power of grassroots democracy.

“This is consistent with New Hampshire’s philosophy because we really believe in local government and government by the people,” Quinn said.

There are two major types of political donations: Donations that go directly to candidates and their campaigns and donations that go to independent groups, known as political action committees. Before 2010, corporations and labor unions couldn’t donate directly to candidates or to independent groups for political purposes, and there were limits on how much individuals could contribute.

The Citizens United case overturned the ban on donations to outside groups, allowing corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals to donate unlimited amounts of money to independent expenditure groups. This gave rise to what are now known as Super PACs. These Super PACs cannot donate directly to a candidate or campaign, but they can create their own advertisements supporting or opposing candidates. Because of this decision, the 2012 presidential election became the most expensive election in history.

Sally Embley, a Webster resident and member of the League of Women Voters, said political spending has always been an issue. But Citizens United opened the floodgates to a new kind of money that is making the problem even worse, she said.

“Unless you get to the root of the issue, which is the big-money corruption angle, this is not going to change,” she said.

Warner resident Michael Franklin said treating corporations as people gives special interests undue influence in elections and on important issues. That, in turn, can put a chilling effect on others who may want to speak up. Franklin said the best solution would be for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its Citizens United ruling. That may be unlikely, he said. A constitutional amendment is a long-shot too, but he said calling for one will open up a serious discussion at the local and state level about the issue.

“The only way (an amendment) seems at all likely is if there’s a lot of grassroots pressure on the federal folks to do that,” he said.

Jonah Minkoff-Zern, a senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy is for the People Campaign, said his group set a goal of getting this warrant article on 20 town ballots. Instead, they’ve found interest in more than 50 communities.

“The response has been just tremendous,” he said. “It blossomed way more than we would have expected.”

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com.)

Legacy Comments96

HEADLINE: If I started all my posts by writing HEADLINE would everyone believe them no questions asked?

Well, I have researched each one of Sail's "Headlines" on this page and honestly, each one is true. If you took the time to check things out and not just read the propaganda site you might find that the NY Times reported all of the stories on this string. It is inconvenient for these to be true, but unfortunately, they are true.

HEADLINE: Itsa is now the official fact checker for Sail. Works for me.

HEADLINE U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen presented compelling evidence against a "senior advisor" to Hillary's 2008 presidential campaign as the originator of a $600,000 scheme of illegal campaign donations in which two co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty. HEADLINE Fugitive Ecuadorian Bankers Gave 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Dollars to Obama

We also have no proof that foreigners aren't buying our elections. Does anyone really think there isn't overseas money isn't pouring money into our campaigns. As for claiming minorities need ids to cash ebt cards, that is pure racial prejudice. If Republicans are just worried about the wrong people voting, what's the story with the closing of polling places in poor neighborhoods and canceling early voting. That Republican in PA told the truth when he said voter id would insure that Romney got elected. That was the plan, too bad it didn't work. Then. But they keep trying.

Fact: People need an ID to get EBT cards, food stamps, government assistance. These are the truly poor. How about they use that ID card to vote. No problem.

You are all missing the point..How about we get back to "limited government"...get the government out of what it not supposed to be doing...that would put a huge dent in the flow of money

once a progressive gets a taste of tax revenue, they automatically see everyone as a bank of neverending resources and they find ways to spend it. I mean you would have to invest in thousands of psychologists to work on progressives and break the money grows on trees mentality.

a return to the 10th Amendment is critical

PAC Money is pretty evenly split between Democrats and Republicans and much of this money does not go directly to support any particular candidate, mostly positions on social issues. Note that education, unions, etc. spend as much as corporations.....here is the link: http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/index.php?cycle=2014&party=R

Forget about left and right - does everyone believe that things are not getting out of hand with political spending?? All these millions upon millions of dollars are in the average American's best interest? Furthermore, all this money is being spent with no strings? Who are we all kidding? Just list one downside to limiting political spending, what is I am missing? If you are going to say all the money that is pumped into the economy, I'll give you that one, but think of things that people could do with that money if they used it for more productive reasons.

I would love to believe that you see it on both sides but you only harp on the Koch Brothers. I have not yet read any criticism by you of Paul Ryan pushing granny off of the cliff in a wheelchair or any critique of unions for decades spending money on campaigns. Now that the playing field is leveled and the other side is playing the same game, progressives are all up in arms. Political ads are geared towards the uniformed, naive and Democrats are the champions of those folks, promising them things and driving the wedge of class envy between the population. It is constant and it works for progressives. One only needs to look at how Democrats have strung along African Americans for decades with promises and where are those folks standing today, let's look to Detroit.

The Koch brothers are the most public examples, it's not that I harp on them. You missed my point, regardless of party receiving the money why would limiting campaign spending be a bad thing. Simple question sort of. One comment I do take issue with is that all political ads are inherently misleading, it has nothing to do with party or low information voters. Don't even get me going on class envy, boy has that been twisted around.

Save your breath GCarson . . . limiting spending would be too conservative an idea for itsa . . . wait a minute . . . what am I saying ???

Here is the solution. We need union money out of politics completely, yes that includes teacher unions. We need corporate money out of politics completely. Then we need the press to, without slant or favor report on the exact positions of each candidate. When debating they need to stop all attacks and answer questions like: If elected what would you do about "x"......then voters have a clear idea of what each person stands for. No negative campaigning allowed, newspapers could simply cover each side equally as would television. Now that would be a breath of fresh air but no one would agree with that approach.

Well what you want will never happen as long as humans are involved. No negative campaigning, there is more chance that Nancy Pelosi and Ted Cruz would dance cheek-to-cheek. There are documented examples of negative campaigning going back to Jefferson vs. Adam's. Just curious, did you leave out PAC money intentionally? Why the emphasis on the teachers union?

watch out what you ask for the progressive liberal socialists almost got their Gestapos into every news room last month

Actually.... I agree with that approach.

Wow. How does that happen? Monitor IT folks need to fix this thing in the forums where posts just end up any old place.

ItsaRepublic wrote: "Here is the solution. We need union money out of politics completely, yes that includes teacher unions. We need corporate money out of politics completely. Then we need the press to, without slant or favor report on the exact positions of each candidate. When debating they need to stop all attacks and answer questions like: If elected what would you do about "x"......then voters have a clear idea of what each person stands for. No negative campaigning allowed, newspapers could simply cover each side equally as would television. Now that would be a breath of fresh air but no one would agree with that approach." ------------------ Actually, I agree completely with that approach. ~FOF

Yes, now we just need to convince about 300,000,000 more people that it is a good idea.

you obviously will support a strict adherence to the 10th Amendment or you are just all rhetoric

Three very good observations which no one brings up. These groups asking for corporate money out of politics don't understand that corporations are made up of sometimes thousands of people who have an interest in how the government runs; in their paychecks, jobs, etc. Just like unions. It is also inferred that all of this money is somehow successfully used to sway elections...that is not the case, look at some of the failures in 2012. Finally, progressives are against this for two reasons, first and foremost they don't like businesses and corporations having some kind of a twisted view of reality and second they infer that all of the information in ads paid for by these groups is pure propaganda with no redeeming value or truth involved in it. They view it as disinformation and take the approach that only their views and information is correct. Truth be told they don't want the truth to come out.

There's a sick, ignorant irony when a corporation like the "Coalition for Open Democracy" is engaging in the very public advocacy it seeks to ban.

Actually it seems like it is going against its own best interests for the public good.

You're missing the point: what they're doing matters, not who it benefits. They're publicly advocating a position, as a corporation, and taking money to do it. Exactly what they're doing is what they're asking people to want to ban. Do supporters even recognize that?

So what are you saying? Since this horrible law passed and liberals don't agree with it, as a matter of principle, they should just sit it out and let all conservative corporations and the Koch brothers spend all they want on their causes? I don't think so.

Hey..Obama didnt have to sign this into "law" but he did because he is a constitutional law professor.

Are you saying that because abortion and Obamacare passed and conservatives don't agree with it, as a matter of principle, they should just sit it out and let millions of babies be aborted and millions of people lose their insurance and subsidize others? You see, Tillie, it works both ways. You can't declare that one is "settled law" and not the other. You can't have it both ways.

What are you saying Tillie? Is okay for Unions, Soros, etc to spend millions on Dems? Or is your beef just with the Koch Brothers?

All liberals hate the Koch bros - HEADLINE: "Koch Brother Donates Money to Hospital, Liberals Protest (Not a Parody)" .... David H. Koch Center gave New York-Presbyterian Hospital $100 Million ......New York State Nurses’ Association, the NAACP and SEIU marched on the Hospital - I kid you not

You appear deeply misinformed--which troubles me greatly--about some essential facts. There was no "horrible law" that passed. There was a Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, which invalidated part of certain campaign finance regulations. More accurately, that the FEC could not regulate and ban communication or independent political spending by an independent group. The case itself was about FEC regulation banning a critical documentary about Hillary Clinton within 30 days of an election. That's basic First Amendment stuff: government can't forbid speech like that--certainly not political speech. And not simply because the publishing organization had incorporated--as if the law could force individuals to surrender their free speech rights because they chose to work together. You appear to think that "all the conservative corporations" are spending money willy nilly. Perhaps you should check a site like openecrets. When it comes to public advocacy spending, the Koch Brothers spend almost nothing in comparison to what public unions spend. It's just an inconvenient fact for those who think that the identify of the speaker determines whether a publication should be censored. But consider this: everything Nader's Raiders publicized in the public interest? Could be banned as well.

Correct bdross, people who work at that corporation have an interest in keeping the corporation going to keep their jobs. The fact that progressives can't understand that is stunningly ignorant. They advocate unions having all of the same influence

I fail to see you're calling the "Coalition for Open Democracy" a corporation in the traditional sense. Nor are their motives certainly 'sick" or "ignorant", these individuals and groups are vitally concerned that the democratic process is being undermined by dark money. Those who blindly support and cheerlead for the Citizens United decision are in essence supporting the secret funding of groups that may be inimical to the democratic process. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, said Jefferson.

HEADLINE:"Dem Who Pled Guilty to Illegal Fundraising for DEMOCRAT D.C. Mayor Also Contributed to democrat Hillary; liberal. Networks Ignore."... word is he has become states witness and will give information about wide scale democrat illegal enterprise that also involves NObama

I'm more concerned with voter fraud is undermining the "democratic process".

I'd ask you to cite an actual, verified instance of widespread voter fraud in a state or national election within the last decade. Allegations of voter fraud are being made frequently, but actual instances of voter fraud are rare to virtually nonexistent--vote fraud amounts to--at most a vote here or there in a given election. By contrast, Republican efforts at voter suppression are widespread, as in Florida's purging the rolls in 2000 and since, and the numerous states cutting back hours and eliminating days from registration and voting times. These, and voter ID laws, affect minorities and the poor more than other categories.

How do you think it affect minorities and the poor more than other categories? Don't they need one to cash their government check? Oh yeah, they do. Problem solved.

You can't get your EBT card without an ID. You can't get food stamps without an ID. You can't open a bank account without an ID. You can't legally drive a car without an ID. You can't apply for unemployment without an ID. You can't fly on a plane without an ID. If the government is giving benefits to people without ID's, then let's stop that immediately but if not, the inference that minorities and the poor are somehow lacking an I.D. is just propaganda. And if they do not have the motivation to at least get an ID, then I am not sure they would be informed enough to vote anyway.

Exactly! Frankly I don't know how they can keep a straight face when giving this lame excuse.

It is pure rhetoric that democrats are for the little guy. The FACT that they fight against getting every citizen an ID shows they don't care about them at all. Responsible Republican want every citizens to achieve their dreams. An ID is critical to bringing every citizen into the main stream of life and to achieve their dreams. For democrats to use ID as a political ploy is absolutely shameless

wholeheartedly agreed...It is as plain as the nose on my face. I just can't understand how others can't see it.

1) In Some Philly and Cleveland Precincts Obama Got 100% Of The Vote , Tuesday, November 13, 2012 According to the Philadelphia Inquirer...2) First, he received over 99% of the vote in districts where GOP inspectors were illegally removed. Next, he won 100% of the vote in 21 districts in Cleveland. Well, he’s gotten another lucky break! Mr. Obama won Wood County in Ohio this year. That’s right, Mr. Obama won the majority of Wood County’s 108% of registered voters. That’s not a typo. In 2012, 106,258 people in Wood County are registered to vote out of an eligible 98,213 That Bruce is what is known as FRAUD. Did you know that the Obama Campaigns wer never audited but both Romney & McCain were

Gullibles Travels (internet variety): The poster formerly known as sail must own shares in that Brooklyn bridge, and be sending money to Nigeria, given his posting of spurious claims of voter fraud above. A little fact-checking would go a long way. Try Snopes and FactCheck.org before you post such allegations on "voter fraud" again. Meanwhile, the Republican assault on voting rights continues, by limiting hours and making it harder to register.

Interesting that Open Democracy is funded by convicted criminal billionaire George Soros who spends billions in politics. Why aren't these people complaining about the billions of union $$ spent in elections??

Bottom line is that 14 of the top 25 contributors to presidential campaigns are unions or union related. The progressives just want to stack the deck. Corporations represent people who work for them.

It takes 25 union contributions to make up even one percent of the money Koch brothers and corporations give to campaigns. It is like an ant battling an elephant.(pun intended).

citation for your claim please...

100% FALSE FALSE FALSE - Koch bros. are 59th on the list ... It tturns out the ´Evil´ Koch Bros are only the 59th biggest donors in American politics. Can you guess who is number one? Washington Examiner, by Mark Tapscott http://washingtonexaminer.com/it-turns-out-the-evil-koch-bros.-are-only-the-59th-biggest-donors-in-american-politics.-can-you-guess-who-is-number-one/article/2544025

Washington Examiner again. You are so funny.

citation for your above claim please...

Correct, BPR that is also validated on opensecrets.org.

I think you need to check your source. Rule #1 is always find multiple sources for information. On this, I think you'll find lots of counter-factual information that is more accurate--and less self-serving. The Washington Examiner is not the most reliable source for factual information on most topics. Their motto could be: "All the news that fits".

But opensecrets.org is a reliable source for factual information and they mirror the information that he posted.

Sail really, that list is plain nonsense pure and simple. Is it factual, sort of but only in one context, and not the one your trying to pass off. As to the Koch's and the $18 million ---- Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012. The list you are rallying around is for reported donations. Anyone can google "how much did the koch brothers spend in 2012" and see for yourself. Groups set up as 501 (c) (4) entities such as Karl Rove's shield the actual donors from public view. Your LIST failed to mention Super Pacs, 501 c4's, Carl Forti, or even Karl Rove. Fluff journalism at it's most inept. -------------- I don't care if it's a Koch or Soros, there is just too much money bandied about in politics on all sides. Money always comes with strings!

That is a bald faced lie. Let's look at the top contributers and who the majority of their contributions do to shall we? Big oil - GOP, big business - GOP, Koch Bros - GOP, Big pharma - GOP. There are only two groups who give more to Democrats - Unions and the entertainment industry. And if you think that those contributions equal or surpass all of the other groups who primarily contribute to the GOP - you must've failed basic math.

please read the Facts as presented in the article I posted and then get back to us with your retraction

Ditto

citation for your claim...please!

Not according to opensecrets.org, do some research and find out.

If you actually believe that Corporations act in the best interest or represent their workers with their political spending, you are just plain crazy or can only repeat what Sail tells you to say. Corporations are controlled for and by their stock holders. Not workers, come on, shake off that haze.

Itsa - Corporations do not represent the people that work for them - never have this is pure fantasy. Corporations represent their investors and what is good for profits not their workers.

GCarson-My point was that as an employee of any company, the less restrictive policies that favor the business, the better for employees. They vote in self interest just like union employees and just like public employees. If the corporation thrives, so do the employees and hence corporations do represent the share holders (who are voters and citizens too) and they represent the employees who they employ. If Trader Joes lobbies for liberal causes and you don't like that, then don't work there. If you are an environmentalist, don't work for Valvoline. Are you aware that millions upon millions of folks with 401K plans are invested in companies that sell oil, Wal-mart, Target, fast food chains? They are entitled to representation of their interests as well. Just because you might be anti big oil, big agra, fast food or mass retailing does not mean that everyone must suffer your politics.

I see your point but it has a major flaw. What is good for business is not necessarily good for humans. This is why businesses employ lobbyist's. Governments have to have everyone's best interests in mind. Money shouldn't come into it. This isn't an issue of my politics, or left versus right, simply an attempt to bring sanity back to politics not special interest's.

The Koch brothers spent twice as much as the top 10 unions combined in the 2012 election cycle--over $400 million in dark money spending alone. http://www.thenation.com/blog/178743/koch-brothers-spent-twice-much-2012-election-top-ten-unions-combined

Following up on my post above, this source claims that the Kochs (and their minions) spent over $600 million during the 2012 election cycle, when lobbying is added to the mix. The fundamental point is that with Citizens United, we don't really know--since these groups are allowed to keep their donors anonymous--who's spending what. In an ostensible democracy, that's not democratic. http://www.policymic.com/articles/28175/what-do-the-koch-brothers-do-after-spending-643-million-and-losing-double-down

You include people whose last name is not Koch, and include lobbying which no one brought up but you...throw in a little "we dont really know" and quote a FAR left idiot...and there you have it...a perfect post of nonsense. Cheers!

The bottom line is we don't know how much the Koch's are spending of their own money, and how much is being spent by other like-minded individuals through their network of "social welfare" groups.. But we do know the amount being spent is far larger than claimed by (for example) the poster formerly known as "sail". We also know that spending by so-called 'social welfare" groups that hide their donors identity has skyrocketed since the CU decision. We can also be quite certain that spending by the various Koch-created entities is between $400 and $600 million. I note you have, as usual, posted no links to support either sail's or your claims regarding their spending.http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/koch-backed-political-network-built-to-shield-donors-raised-400-million-in-2012-elections/2014/01/05/9e7cfd9a-719b-11e3-9389-09ef9944065e_story.html

But from 1989 to 2012 they were #59 out of all donations. An election cycle means nothing when George Soros spent $25M to defeat Bush in one election cycle. I think that maybe you progressives just don't like competition.

You know guys, I've followed this thing all the way to this point and all I see is a bunch of partisan bickering resulting in nothing positive. Wanna know how to stop it? GET CORPORATE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS!!!

GET ALL UNION MONEY OUT OF POLITICS, INCLUDING THE TEACHERS UNIONS.

Flat tax does that in a flash

The Citizens United decision is just 1 in a centuries long line of US Supreme Court decisions on the topic. To be educated readers only have to research the Santa Clara case (1886 - Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause granted constitutional protections to corporations as well as to natural persons) and the Dartmouth case (1819 Corporations are people and protected by same laws ) . It is settled Law

"nothing is settled until it is settled right."

None of those earlier decisions equated money with speech, nor endowed corporations with the same free speech rights as citizens.

even Wikipedia proves that statement as wrong

I dont know....I thought the left loved the ads of pushing granny in a wheelchair over the cliff and the one about Romney killing that woman that had cancer. I know I certainly did. I dont remember anyone on the left saying those ads were big money corruption and a threat to democracy...did I miss it??

imagine that...not one member of the left on the comment boards disputes my claim...color it true.

The ad was arguably more fair than the false claims of 'death panels' which are still bandied about on here. Ryan's budget would have turned Medicare into a voucher system--sooner rather than later forcing seniors to pay more for their medical care. In essence, the Ryan plan would have balanced the budget (not even necessary in my view at present-but that's a separate issue) on the backs of the elderly, while leaving in place tax cuts that went a long way to creating the current deficit. Further: the real issue in Citizens United is that it opens the floodgates to secret sources of funding--including eventually the possibility of foreign money.

I'm happy that CU made it possible for you to see that ad.

It wasn't CU that made that possible. The "Wilie Horton" ad came long before CU, but at least viewers knew its source. That's not necessarily true with the proliferation of "non-profit" groups since CU with innocuous sounding names and hidden sources of funding from anonymous donors.

the agenda project is a 501c4..nice try

You're missing the point--thanks to CU anonymous donors from any and all sides are going to be fueling claims and counter-claims--in an escalating money arms race that will likely shed little light but offer plenty of heat during election cycles. But as for that ad--again it was not any less fair than the 'Willie Horton" ad which long preceded it, which was one of the ads that gave impetus to campaign finance reform in the first place.

No..you are missing the point..I didnt vote for Obama because of the throw granny off the cliff ad any more than you voted for Bush because of the Willie Horton ad. Now explain to me why that is...

Who needs chronology

We have no guarantees foreigners aren't voting (or for that matter those voters are even breathing) so what the hey.

HEADLINE: Fugitive Ecuadorian Bankers Gave 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Dollars to Obama

HEADLINE: Prove it Sail!

Here you go gsec92...."Roberto and William Isaias, Ecuadorian fugitives convicted of embezzlement by that nation's socialist government, donated "hundreds of thousands" of dollars to United States politicians, including President Obama, while living exiled in Miami, The New York Times reports. The brothers, whose background as president and vice president of a bank generated enough revenue to afford such campaign contributions, funneled $90,000 into President Obama's reelection campaign, according to the Times. The money reached the campaign legally through a network of family members. A year later, President Obama rejected the request from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to have the brothers extradited. The brothers were sentenced in absentia long after fleeing Ecuador; they left their country after the bank they operated, Filanbanco, collapsed"

From the same article " the contributions were not illegal". Did you forget to add that? Or just conveniently just overlook the statement.

Nope, you forgot that he refused to let them be extradited, that is more important. If he associates himself with scum, well you figure it out.

HEADLINE; "Hundreds of thousands" isn't exactly $90,000. Be careful Itsa, or you might lose your job as official fact checker for Sail. Most of Sail's posts are from very biased web sites or he has cherry picked certain words to fill his needs. It is a bad habit of many Republicans, a la O'Keefe and Breibart.

tillie it does not matter how much, if it was $90, it would be the same story. The fact that you don't care shows partisanship and ideology over what is best for the people.

That's it. You are fired. it would not be the same story. It would not be the same period. That is what the word "fact" means. Sail has taken the word and make it a joke. And yes it does matter where you get you news from. If a site puts out fake stories once that is enough for me. I will never believe them again..

sail, never has to prove anything. He gets all his news from the same web site that said Wayne Knight was dead.

If you can get information that is backed up by facts, it matters not which site it is posted on. If Breitbart has a factual report, it can't be disqualified just because it came from that site.

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