The First Amendment to the Constitution didn’t give corporations and other entities the power to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaign ads. But four years ago – on Jan. 21, to be exact – the Supreme Court did just that.
They created a new definition of First Amendment rights, defining corporate spending on elections as an expression of freedom of speech.
As I’m sure you noticed in 2010 and 2012, this “speech” took the form of unrelenting campaign mailers and TV ads, largely negative. Since donor names are kept secret, ads are nastier than ever and we don’t know who really influences our elected officials. Polls show that 80 percent of Americans are finally saying “enough.” Across the country, voters have passed resolutions saying the rights protected in the Constitution belong to natural persons only, and that money is not speech.
In Wisconsin, 26 communities have passed such resolutions or put referenda up to vote. The Lake Mills Town Board voted unanimously in August to pass the resolution sponsored by Move to Amend, the largest group working on this amendment. In Fort Atkinson, 77 percent of voters voted “yes,” in Whitewater 84 percent voted “yes,” and Jefferson County passed the resolution with 82 percent of supervisors voting “yes.”
On Tuesday, April 1, voters in the city of Lake Mills and the town of Waterloo will be able to cast their vote to help reduce the influence of money in politics. Please vote for the resolution and even better, get involved in your local Move to Amend group, which you can find at www.wimta.org.
/s/ Amy Janczy