Following is an article by Rob Hager, a constitutional lawyer who helped Montana battle the Supreme Court. Rob is not impressed with the Move to Amend effort and feels that it could be counterproductive in the end. I’ve not changed any of his wording and it is up to the reader to analyze and agree or disagree. Your comments below are welcome. Jack
By Rob Hager
But Move to Amend (MTA), a professional activist organization which raises money in support of a constitutional amendment against money in politics, and also the “corporate personhood” concept it claims is related, is nothing short of consumer fraud. The 14th amendment legal concept of corporate personhood is irrelevant to money in politics. An amendment is impossible in an already corrupted system, and is also unnecessary. Only the most irrational person would believe that in a Congress that cannot pass the most tepid, uselessly piecemeal reform like DISCLOSE or FENA, somehow 2/3 of both houses will propose an effective amendment. And that 38 similarly corrupted state legislatures will ratify. No amendment has been proposed and ratified since 1971.
Staunch reform advocate Senator Fritz Hollings proposed a better drafted constitutional amendment than MTA’s to get money out of politics. Hollings submitted his proposal in seven sessions of Congress from 1989-2001, without even getting close to success in just the Senate. Then Congress was far less corrupted than the current one is by the Supreme Court’s ongoing plutocracy construction project.
The very fact that the MTA amendment — unsupported by any strategic thought or justification why it can succeed where Hollings failed — continues to mislead people is a measure of how far we are from taking even the smallest first step toward engaging, in the words of F.D.Roosevelt, the “war for the survival of democracy” against the “royalists of the economic order.”
FDR advocated no constitutional amendment. Such advocacy is the problem, not the solution. Promoting a futile amendment as the only possibility dampens enthusiasm. It reinforces propaganda from the right that money in politics is inevitable. A plutocratic Court can and does interpret amendments however it likes.
Even with “money-stream media” propagating the Supreme Court’s surreally weak “money is speech” doctrine, still most Americans – by 55%-23% – do not believe that giving money to political candidates is first amendment free speech. That’s 57% of registered voters, 60% of Democrats, and 62% of college grads who refuse to drink the plutocrats’ cool aid that confuses property with democratic liberty. Even larger majorities think there is no violation of free speech in restricting aggregate individual contributions (this year’s Court- targeted campaign finance law), with 73% of the supposedly most conservative Americans, those over 65, agreeing individual plutocrats have no First Amendment right to spend as much as necessary to buy themselves a Congress.
It is disturbing, however, that the youngest voters are the most likely to agree with the Supreme Court, indicating how effective three decades of plutocratic propaganda has been. This underlines the importance of not advocating strategies like MTA’s that cannot succeed anytime in the foreseeable future, and which distract people from effective – i.e. informed and intelligent – strategy for MTA’s political equivalent of breakfast cereal — all ad, no nutrition.
There is an effective strategy to get money out of politics that aims at the source of the problem – 5 plutocratic Supreme Court justices – for people willing to go deeper than deceitful soundbites before deciding where to place their energy. http://tinyurl.com/12ekeys
Because this majority has yet to discover an effective strategy, the more important polling data is that 72% do not think that, for example, limiting individual donations even helps prevent corruption. There is an appropriately wide public cynicism about “solutions” to money in politics generated by decades of misguidance from organizations like MTA that have failed to do any but the most superficial inquiry about how to actually get money out of politics, before soliciting gullible supporters for their soundbite strategies and piecemeal reforms.
More is needed to convince Americans that an anti-corruption strategy will actually work to clean up the system. The first step toward getting money out of politics then, is to ask any organization like MTA, where they get their money. The second step is to do the research on an effective strategy, and stop buying into the empty soundbites like MTA’s just because they are simple, and sound plausible prior to deeper reflection. Then it will be time to stop chomping the Cap’n Crunch and get active in pursuit of an effective strategy.