OCCUPIED Amendment Would End Corporate Personhood

Campaign spending by wealthy donors and powerful corporations is an increasingly large problem in our government. Recognizing this fact, some of our elected leaders have introduced Constitutional amendments to curb this flow of special interest money.

Florida Democratic Representative Ted Deutch introduced one of the most powerful versions of these amendments last month. Deutch’s amendment is entitled the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Constitutional Amendment; an homage to the Occupy movement that has swept across the country and globe in recent months.

“No matter how strongly Ohio families fight for basic fairness for workers, the Koch Brothers will continue to pour millions into campaigns aimed at protecting the wealthiest 1%. No matter how fed up seniors in South Florida are with an agenda that puts oil subsidies ahead of Social Security and Medicare, corporations will continue to fund massive publicity campaigns and malicious attack ads against the public interest,” Deutch said.

While there have been numerous amendments introduced that would stop the flow of corporate money into campaigns, Deutch’s takes more steps than the others in making sure it would be an effective tool in curbing the influence of powerful corporations on our electoral and lawmaking process. One key component is that the OCCUPIED amendment would eliminate corporate personhood in this country.

Deutch’s amendment “Makes clear that free speech and other constitutionally protected rights are those of natural persons and not corporations or entities formed to promote their business interests.” This portion of the amendment will make it much more difficult for corporations to influence our elections, and represents a more permanent fix to the problems posed by Citizens United than the solutions offered in other amendments.

The OCCUPIED amendment would also make it possible for Congress to truly enact campaign finance reform, with provisions for regulating all election contributions and expenditures. This would give Congress the power to stop the anonymous funneling of campaign funds that circumvent our election laws.

Unfortunately the OCCUPIED amendment, like the other amendments aimed at overturning Citizens United, is not gaining traction. Passing a constitutional amendment is a lengthy and arduous process, but if our elections are ever going to be productive and produce candidates who can better the process, something needs to be done to curb the flow of special interest money into our campaigns.

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