Reid schedules vote in September on amending the Constitution
August 01, 2014, 03:12 pm By Ramsey Cox – TheHIll
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has set up a procedural vote for September on a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics.
Before adjourning for a five-week recess on Friday, Reid filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 19, which is designed to overturn two recent Supreme Court decisions that allowed corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals to spend more money on federal elections.
The procedural vote on the constitutional amendment is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8.
The amendment is certain to fail in the Senate because Republicans generally support the high court’s decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC, arguing they removed limits on free speech.
“This partisan effort to weaken the First Amendment is the clearest proof yet of how out of touch the Democrat Majority has become from the needs and concerns of ordinary Americans and how ill-equipped they are to lead in these challenging times,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday. “Washington Democrats have forgotten that the First Amendment is meant to empower the people, not the government.”
The 2010 Citizens United ruling struck down restrictions that had barred corporations and unions from spending money from their general treasury funds to support or oppose candidates. In McCutcheon, the court struck aggregate limits on individual contributions to candidates.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/214089-reid-sets-up-vote-to-reverse-citizens-united-decision
Senate moves forward with amendment to the Constitution on elections
9/8/14 By Ramsey Cox – theHill
The Senate on Monday advanced a constitutional amendment meant to reverse two recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign spending.
Republicans are likely to vote against the amendment when it comes up for a final vote, but by allowing it to proceed, ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week.
More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats in the 79-18 vote advancing the amendment, well over the 60 votes that were needed.
The amendment is almost certain to fail, as it would need to win two-thirds support to pass the Senate, and then would still need to move through the House and be ratified by two-thirds of the states.
“We should have debate on this important amendment,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said before voting for cloture. “The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would gladly debate the issue for as long as Republicans require because the amendment is necessary to keep “dark money” out of politics.
For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/217025-senate-advances-constitutional-amendment-on-campaign-spending
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010)
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit corporation Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”). In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.
July 16, 2012
Statement by President Obama on the DISCLOSE Act
Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that big corporations are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence American elections. They can buy millions of dollars’ worth of TV ads with no obligation to reveal who’s actually paying for them.
The consequences of this decision are predictable. If we allow this practice to continue, special interests will have unprecedented influence over politicians. It’s wrong. It’s corrosive to our democracy, and it’s a threat to our future.
Today, Republicans in the Senate had the chance to change it. They had the opportunity to support a bill that would prevent the worst effects of the Citizens United decision and require groups or special interests who are trying to influence elections to reveal their donors so the public will know who’s funding their political ads. This bill should have received broad, bipartisan support.
Unfortunately, Republicans chose to block it. Instead of standing up for the American people, Republicans stood with big banks and oil companies – special interests that certainly don’t need more clout in Washington.
I will continue to do everything I can to repair the deficit of trust between Washington and the American people. I’m disappointed Republicans in Congress failed to take action and hold corporations and special interests accountable to the American people.
BILL MOYERS: Here’s a significant revelation of which you may not be aware. The plutocrats know it and love it, and the rest of us should be forewarned. When the Supreme Court made its infamous Citizens United decision, liberating plutocrats to buy our elections fair and square, the justices may have effectively overturned rules that kept bosses from ordering employees to do political work on company time. Election law expert Trevor Potter told us that now “corporations argue that it is a constitutionally protected use of corporate ‘resources’ to order employees to do political work or attend campaign events—even if the employee opposes the candidate, or is threatened with being fired for failure to do what the corporation asks.”
Reporter Mike Elk at In These Times magazine came across a recording of Governor Mitt Romney on a conference call in June with some business executives. The Governor told them there is quote, “nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.”
And here’s Governor Romney two months later, campaigning at an Ohio coal mine:
MITT ROMNEY: This is a time for truth. I listened to an ad on the way here. I’ll tell you, you got a great boss. He runs a great operation here. And he—Bob? Where are you Bob? There he is.
Bill Moyers on Citizen’s United Decision
“Look at all those miners around him, steadfastly standing in support, right? They work for a company called Murray Energy and attendance at the rally, without pay, was mandatory. Murray Energy is notorious for violating safety regulations, sometimes resulting in injuries and deaths. And the company has paid millions in fines. The CEO, Bob Murray, a well-known climate change denier and cutthroat businessman, insists that his employees contribute to his favorite anti-regulatory candidates, or else. In one letter uncovered by “The New Republic” magazine, Murray wrote quote, “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts.” So much for voting rights and the secret ballot at Murray Energy.
Mike Elk discovered that the Koch Brothers, David and Charles – who have pledged to spend $60 million defeating President Obama – have sent a “voter information packet” to the employees of Georgia Pacific, one of their subsidiaries. It includes a list of recommended candidates, pro-Romney and anti-Obama editorials written by the Koch’s and a cover letter from the company president. If we elect the wrong people, Dave Robertson writes, “Many of our more than 50,000 US employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.” Other ills? Like losing your job?
This is snowballing. Timeshare king David Siegel of Westgate Resorts reportedly has threatened to fire employees if Barack Obama is re-elected and Arthur Allen, who runs ASG Software Solutions, e-mailed his employees, “If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”
Back in the first Gilded Age, in the 19th century, bosses and company towns lined up their workers and marched them to vote as a block. As we said at the beginning of this broadcast, the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance. Welcome to the plutocracy. The remains of the ol’ USA.”
HEADLINES OF GOP Blocking the DISCLOSE ACT
* Senate GOP block campaign spending disclosure bill [AP,7/16/12]
Senate Republicans blocked Democratic-backed legislation requiring organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign ads to disclose their top donors and the amounts they spend. GOP opposition prevented Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring what is known as the Disclose Act to the Senate floor. The vote was 51-44. Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action committees and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed and largely anonymous contributors, are dominating the airwaves with largely negative political ads.
* Senate Republicans block campaign disclosure bill [Reuters,7/16/12]
* Senate Republicans Block Campaign Donor Disclosure Bill [Bloomberg, 7/17/12]
* The Power of Anonymity [NY Times, 7/17/12]
* Senate Democrats Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ on Campaign Finance Bill [WSJ, 7/16/12]
* Expose the fat cats [Washington Post,7/16/12]
* GOP Kills DISCLOSE Act and Leaves Voters in the Dark [Daily Beast,7/17/12]
* DISCLOSE Campaign Spending Act Blocked By Senate Republicans [Huffington Post, 7/17/12]
* Dems hold ‘midnight vigil’ to protest defeat of DISCLOSE bill – [The Hill, 7/16/12]
* GOP Unanimously Votes to Block DISCLOSE Act [National Journal, 7/16/12]
* Republicans block bill on transparency [Washington Times, 7/17/12]
* Senate Dems Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ For Campaign Finance Bill [BuzzFeed, 7/16/12]
* GOP blocks political-ad disclosure bill [Boston Globe,7/16/12]
* GOP Senators block Disclose Act political donation transparency [The Examiner, 7/17/12]
* GOP Senators block Disclose Act political donation transparency [Reid.senate.gov, 9/11/14]
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