FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Constitutional Amendment Introduced in Congress Ensuring Rights for People, Not Corporations

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Constitutional Amendment Introduced in Congress
Ensuring Rights for People, Not Corporations

Rep. Rick Nolan and House of Representatives Members Respond to
Hundreds of Local Resolutions Calling for “We the People” Amendment

(Washington D.C.) - The movement for constitutional reforms that would end what organizers call “corporate rule” has arrived in the chambers of the 115th Congress. This morning, members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined Move to Amend by announcing their sponsorship of the “We the People Amendment,” which clearly and unequivocally states that:

1.     Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and 

2.     Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

“It’s time to establish once and for all that corporations are not people, money is not free speech, and our elections and public policy-making process are not for sale to the highest corporate bidders,” said lead sponsor Rep. Rick Nolan (Minnesota) in announcing the amendment. “It’s time to take the molding and shaping of public policy out of corporate boardrooms, away from corporate lobbyists, and give it back to the American people. We must divert Congress’s focus away from the corporate interests of millionaires and billionaires and return it back to creating good-paying jobs and rebuilding our middle class.”

George Friday, a co-founder for Move to Amend, agreed, saying: “Today, members of Congress join a movement that insists on the fundamental equality of all Americans, and that rejects the idea that the corporate class should have special protections against We the People.”

The Move to Amend coalition was formed in 2009 in preparation for the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Today, the coalition of over 425,000 people and hundreds of organizations has helped to pass over 700 resolutions in municipalities and local governments across the country calling on the state and federal governments to adopt this amendment. Eighteen state legislatures have passed similar resolutions.

The Move to Amend coalition makes a point of differentiating themselves from the other proposals that have come forward in response to Citizens United. "The Citizens United decision is not the cause, it is a symptom of the systemic problem of the Courts extending constitutional rights under the 1st, 4th, 5th, 14th Amendments to corporations,” stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Move to Amend National Director. “Americans have voted for an amendment to outlaw corporate personhood over 300 times, in liberal and conservative communities alike. The message is clear: we must stop giving away our Constitutional rights to corporations and we must remove big money and special interests from the legal and political process entirely."

In addition to lead sponsor Rick Nolan (MN), initial Co-Sponsors are: Mark Pocan (WI), Matthew Cartwright (PA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Keith Ellison (MN), Betty McCollum (MN), Mark Takano (CA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Peter DeFazio (OR), Beto O’Rourke (TX), Louise Slaughter (NY), Barbara Lee (CA), John Conyers (MI), Eliot Engel (NY), Paul Tonko (NY), Jamie Raskin (MD), Ro Khanna (CA), Michael Capuano (NY), Ted Lieu (CA), Donald Norcross (NJ), Walter Jones (NC).

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House Joint Resolution 48 - “We the People” Amendment

Section 1.

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2.

Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the 1st Amendment.

For information comparing the various Constitutional amendments introduced in the 115th Congress, see: