Because American lawmakers spend an inordinate amount of time raising campaign financing, in many cases 50% to 70% of their time...
And because the votes and policy proposals of American lawmakers to an extraordinary degree reflect the desires of their campaign donors- more than a 90% alignment – to the great detriment of the country and to the majority of its people...
Therefore, we believe fundamental reform of the campaign finance system is urgently necessary in order to liberate our lawmakers to serve the broad interests of the public rather than the selfish interests of their campaign treasuries.
Furthermore, large numbers of creative, wise, knowledgeable and intelligent Americans never consider running for office because they refuse to spend a vast amount of time raising vast sums of money from interests to which they are then beholden. Accordingly, many of the best potential public officials in the country and the best solutions to current challenges do not enter the political life of the country. Americans deserve the best. Instead, we have been saddled with a system that cheats us all of wonderfully independent and creative political leaders and lawmakers - and which leaves all of us at the mercy of those who buy legislation and policy to suit their narrow interests.
Our goal therefore is the passage of a Constitutional Amendment and any supportive legislation that will remove the unbearable influence of special interest campaign financing from the civic life and politics of our country and provide a means of financing elections far more in alignment with democratic principles of fairness. We seek to uphold the Constitutional standard of representative government in which our representatives will be solely responsible to the best interests of us, their constituents, otherwise known as We The People.
Although we support all steps toward this goal and are not absolutists, the principles such an Amendment might include are as follows:
Money In Itself Is Not Speech. A clear demarcation between free speech and the financing of political campaigns so that regulating private campaign financing is no longer equated with banning free speech. Ideally, while preserving the right to support issues financially rather than candidates, private campaign financing would be limited to the candidate certification process, when small donations not exceeding $100 may be used to acquire signatures to meet reasonable ballot listing requirements. This amendment would prevent a future Supreme Court from repeating the Citizens United decision of 2010 that removed even the minimal restrictions on buying political votes via campaign financing.
Corporations Are Not People. A clear declaration that overturns the 1886 “Corporate Personhood” Supreme Court ruling that the founders never intended and which has played such a large role in a corrupt system of buying lawmakers and laws via campaign financing while protecting corporations from sorely needed reforms. Normal contractual and property rights of corporations would be protected.
Public Financing of Campaigns. A mandate on Congress and the state legislatures to create a system that is equitable to all office aspirants, incumbents and non-incumbents alike, and to all political parties large and small. Congress and the legislatures are also empowered to create a system for public campaign financing that does not violate other Constitutional liberties and restrictions and is modeled after successful public finance systems in many other democracies. (This system could be via a voucher or special tax such as on speculative Wall St. gambling or a minimum tax on those companies doing business in this country that have shifted their tax burdens overseas. Some conservatives have also suggested that some of the funding come from a fee on unions that would amount to considerably less than they now donate to campaigns.)
Campaign Access to the Public Airwaves. Congress shall be mandated to order that a certain percentage of free airtime on public airwaves be set aside to be used equally by all candidates who seek to present their cases for election. This will dramatically lower the enormous cost of election advertising and thereby lower the cost of public financing of campaigns while attracting better-qualified candidates.
Election Weekend. A clear mandate requiring that all public elections in the U.S. take place over two days on a designated weekend, with the states and municipalities allowed to hold special elections and primary elections on weekends of their choosing. Because more Americans will be freed up to vote, candidates will no longer have to spend such tremendous amounts of money to mobilize specific sectors of the electorate.