Should corporate money in elections be protected free speech? An organization called Move to Amend thinks not, and they’re sponsoring an informational call-to-action event in Atlanta on April 6th.
Background: The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission upheld the rights of corporations to make political expenditures under the First Amendment. Since then, there have been several calls for a Constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. The Citizens United majority opinion makes no reference to corporate personhood or the Fourteenth Amendment, but rather argues that political speech rights do not depend on the identity of the speaker, which could be a person or an association of people.
About Move to Amend’s Goals
We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution* to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.
*Move to Amend’s Proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution
House Joint Resolution 48 introduced February 22, 2019
Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]
- 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. [Money is Not Free Speech]
- 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 First Amendment.
Section 3. Nothing in this amendment shall be construed to abridge freedom of the press.