Because only bad government is possible until we reform campaign finance, I recently signed a petition supporting House Judiciary Resolution 29 (H.J.Res.29). I asked others to join me or point me to a better approach. It will be a while before I can do the necessary research to find a better approach – if there is one – so in the meantime this is an anchor for comments thus far.
H.J.Res.29 is a proposed Constitutional amendment that would make the rights extended by the Constitution apply only to natural persons and provides a basis for fundamental campaign finance reform. It was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 14, 2013 and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. It reads:
- `Section 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other 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, for the purpose of influencing 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 First Amendment.
- `Section 3. Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.’.
The intent of Section 1 is to establish that artificial entities such as corporations do not have constitutional rights. The intent of Section 2. is to establish that money is not free speech.
My overall view is:
(1) Our government today is unacceptably bad so we must make a substantial change
(2) A more effective form of democracy is possible, e.g., using social media technologies, that was unimaginable 250 years ago but we’re not going to change the current system
(3) Any legislative change will have negative as well as positive effects so we should make the best change we can, then make more based on future results