The Rock River Affiliate of Move To Amend is nearing its goal of collecting 750 signatures seeking a curb on election spending by special interests.
Affiliate leader Daniel Fary of Oakland said he is sincerely thankful to all those citizens who are helping the effort by circulating and signing petitions.
The group collected 454 additional signatures on election day, placing it well on its way to reaching its 750-signature goal. At least 663 signatures are required to submit a resolution/referendum to the Fort Atkinson City Council.
Fary explained that the council could decide simply to write the resolution and send it on to state and federal officials. However, the Rock River Affiliate of Move to Amend is requesting that a referendum be placed on the April 2, 2013, ballot.
"This would help in making more Fort citizens aware of the significance of the 'Big Money' in politics and a realistic solution for it," Fary said. "It would also demonstrate to our elected officials how extensive the support for this Constitutional Amendment is."
He cited an Associated Press‑www.GfKAmerica.com poll reported Sept. 16 in the Los Angeles Times that revealed that 83 percent of Americans - including 81 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of Independents and 85 percent of Democrats - want limits on the amount of money corporations, unions, and other organizations can spend to influence our elections.
The exact wording of the resolution the local affiliate wishes to have placed on the April 2 ballot reads: Resolved, that 'We the People' of the City of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending. We stand with the Move to Amend campaign and communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution stating: 1. Only human beings - not corporations, limited liability companies, unions, non‑profit organizations, or similar associations and corporate entities - are endowed with constitutional rights, and, 2. Money is not speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.
"Be if further resolved, that we hereby instruct our state and federal representatives to enact resolutions and legislation to advance this effort."
Fary said that there is a coalition of many different groups throughout the United States seeking to limit the "Big Money" in political campaigns, and the resolutions differ in language.
"The local MTA-RRA group feels that the strongest language to accomplish this is with the Move To Amend dual-component resolution/Constitutional Amendment, as above," Fary stated.
He explained that No. 1 of the resolution above abolishes the concept of corporate personhood.
"Corporations are legally 'legal fictions' whose rights have been granted by charter of the states to perform useful functions for society" Fary said. "In other words, in our representative democracy, we, the people, have the rights, the authority and the power to define corporations any way we see fit."