Utah activists have climbed onboard a national movement to curb the powerful influence of corporate cash on U.S. politics and the nation’s democracy.
The Move to Amend Campaign’s aim is to pass ballot initiatives in 50 cities across the country, Salt Lake City included, that endorse a constitutional amendment to abolish so-called corporate personhood, a phrase that dates back to the 1800s and refers to corporations having many of the same rights as people under the law.
A January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission established that corporations and unions have First Amendment rights to infuse unlimited amounts of cash into federal election campaigns. Since then, many opposition groups have sprouted, seeking a constitutional fix to the high court’s 5-4 ruling.
"Money is not speech, corporations are not people and votes should have more influence than campaign donations," Ashley Sanders, organizer of Move to Amend Salt Lake, said in a recent statement.
"Yet our government is so corrupted by corporate money that amending the Constitution is the only effort strong enough to truly rescue democracy from the bite of crony capitalism."
In order to get their measure on November’s ballot, Move to Amend Salt Lake must gather 7,141 valid voter signatures by April 15. The group’s goal is to collect 9,000 names by the deadline.
Move to Amend Salt Lake will stage its "kickoff" meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the downstairs Conference Room B of the main Salt Lake City Library at 210 E. 400 South.
More information about the national movement can be found at movetoamend.org.