The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that would assert that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights, and that money is not the same as free speech.
The resolution was backed by Move to Amend, a national coalition working to abolish corporate personhood and overturn U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling. The decision gave corporations and unions the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, so long as their actions are not coordinated with a candidate’s campaign.
“Move to Amend’s proposed amendment would provide the basis for overturning the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” stated Mary Beth Fielder, Co-Coordinator of LA Move to Amend. “The Supreme Court has no legitimate right to grant people’s rights to corporations. We must clearly establish that it is we, The People, who are meant to rule.”
City Council President Eric Garcetti sponsored the resolution, according to the Los Angeles Times. He said the largely-symbolic legislation was necessary because “big special interest money” was causing gridlock in Washington.
Move to Amend hopes that to get similar resolutions approved across the nation through city councils and direct vote by ballot initiative.
“Our plan is build a movement that will drive this issue into Congress from the grassroots,” stated Mary Beth Fielder, Co-Coordinator of LA Move to Amend. “The American people are behind us on this and these campaigns help our federal representatives see that we mean business. Our very democracy is at stake. Our goal is for 50 towns and cities to put Move to Amend’s resolution on the ballot for the Presidential election in November, 2012.”
Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Michael Bennet of Colorado have introduced a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United by granting Congress and the states the authority to regulate the campaign finance system. The amendment would not dictate any specific policies or regulations, Udall said, so that it could garner some support from Republicans, who have blocked attempts to overturn the ruling in the past.
Photo credit: Thomas Pintaric