Money Stamping Bus Stops in Cincinnati

October 29, 2012
Ben Goldschmidt

Move to Amend sent a money-stamping bus to Findlay Market Saturday to get the word out to shoppers about ending corporation’s ability to give unlimited funds to groups for political purposes.   

The grassroots organization’s primary goal is to pass an amendment to reverse the fundamental ideas behind the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling in 2010, said Bones Barrett, a local member of Move to Amend.

“[The amendment] is worded to fight the judicial interpretation of corporate personhood as allowing corporations to have the constitutional rights guaranteed to citizens,” Barrett said. “We at Move to Amend feel that we have to get it right the first time to establish the basis. Then we can begin the fight.”

Barrett and other Move to Amend members held a workshop afterward to teach people how to get involved.

The bus that stamped shoppers’ money at Findlay Market is called the Amend-O-Matic Stampmobile — a kinetic sculpture on wheels made by artist Alan Rorie of Oakland, Calif. The Stampmobile resembles a small roller coaster for dollar bills with moving political cartoons along the way. At the end, the bill ends up with a red stamp that reads, “Not to be used for bribing politicians.”

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, funded the majority of the bus and its money-stamping excursion, according to a press release from Move to Amend. 

Cohen has been actively involved with Move to Amend since June. 

The van is set to go from Oakland to Florida, said Renae Widdson, one of the drivers of the Amend-O-Matic. Widdson has been traveling across the country for approximately two weeks to get the word out, she said.  

“Each dollar is seen by about 800 people in its lifetime,” Widdson said. “If the Supreme Court is going to say that money is speech, we are going to subversively use money as speech by sending a message and putting it in circulation.”

Move to Amend has over 100 local chapters across the country, where it tries to pass local resolutions at the city, county and state level, Widdson said. 

The resolutions are aimed at limiting the massive political contributions for elections, which lets corporations with money speak louder than individual citizens, Widdson said.

Shoppers at Findlay Market watched in awe as they sent their money through the contraption.

“I definitely know that I would not like for my money to be bribing politicians, so I appreciate this,” said Rachel Scudder of Spring Grove Village. “I’ve never really seen anything like it.”

 

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