Resolution

The following is the text of a resolution proposed for adoption by San Juan County Council:

A RESOLUTION URGING OUR STATE AND FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES TO ADOPT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT LIMITING THE RIGHTS DEFINED THEREIN TO NATURAL PERSONS ONLY, IN ORDER TO PERMIT ENACTMENT OF REASONABLE LIMITATIONS ON POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS

BACKGROUND

  1. Free and fair elections are essential to American democracy and effective self-governance.
  2. Individual persons are rightfully recognized as the human beings who actually vote in elections.
  3. Corporations, trade unions and similar organizations are artificial, legal entities that governments authorize or create and can exist in perpetuity and simultaneously in many nations.
  4. Such entities do not vote in elections and should not be categorized as persons for purposes related to elections for public office.
  5. These entities are not mentioned in the United States Constitution as adopted, nor have Congress and the states recognized them as legal persons in any subsequent federal constitutional amendment.
  6. The United States Supreme Court, in its decision Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, eliminated many restrictions on spending by artificial entities in the electoral process.
  7. The Court in Citizens has created a new and unequal playing field between human beings and artificial entities with respect to campaign financing, negating over a century of precedent governing contributions to federal election campaigns dating to the Tillman Act of 1907.
  8. The Citizens decision has forced candidates for political office to divert attention from the interests and needs of their human constituents in order to raise sufficient campaign funds for election.
  9. Artificial entities are not and have never been persons and therefore are rightfully subservient to people and the governments that are their creators.
  10. The profits and institutional survival of artificial entities are sometimes in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of people.
  11. Artificial entities have used the rights ceded them under Citizens to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws passed at the municipal, state, and federal levels aimed at curbing abuses they, themselves, have often perpetrated.
  12. Citizens, and its precedents, have rendered democratically elected governments ineffective in protecting their citizens against such special interest harm to the environment, health, workers, independent business, and local and regional economies.
  13. The only way to reverse this undesirable societal reality is to amend the United States Constitution to define human beings, but not artificial entities, as persons.
  14. At least thirteen states and forty-three cities or counties outside the State of Washington, to date, have already passed or are considering similar measures by either resolution or ballot measure.
  15. Active groups in at least six Washington cities or counties are currently pressing for passage of similar measures, and almost identical resolutions are currently pending before Washington House and Senate committees.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the County Council of San Juan County, Washington, as follows:

The County of San Juan, Washington hereby includes in its 2012 Federal and State Legislative Priorities support for a constitutional amendment ensuring that artificial entities, such as corporations, trade unions and similar organizations, are not entitled to the entirety of protections or “rights” of people, so as to specifically ensure that (1) spending by such entities to influence the electoral process is not a form of constitutionally protected speech and (2) such limitations as Congress, as well state and local jurisdictions, may choose to enact to restrict such expenditures, by either artificial entities or individuals, are legal and viable under the Constitution.

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One Comment on “Resolution”

  1. Randall Waugh says:

    The rights of corporations or other entities created by law and the Constitutional right of Citizens to contribute in any way to the electoral process are separate questions. I absolutely agree that corporations should not enjoy the rights endowed by citizenship in the Republic.

    The complex question of contributing to the electoral process remains more difficult to resolve. Do we limit contributions of US dollars at a certain value or number? ($1000 dollars at current value or adjusted for inflation.) Ought we choose a percentage of income for a criteria? What about in kind contributions such as labor (envelope stuffing) or materials (envelopes)? What if I give all my time to a campaign? All my money?

    The commingling of these profoundly distinct issues is an error. In order to solve a current political dilemma we threaten our individual freedom of speech. This proposed amendment to the US Constitution, this change to the fundamental Law of the Land, could someday be construed to deny any citizen the right to advocate in any way for political causes not approved by the contemporary establishment’s orthodoxy.


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