Target: Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader
Goal: Get runaway spending out of elections by defining that money does not equal free speech
The Constitutional right to freedom of speech has been tainted by the 2010 Supreme Court decision over the case Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission. The decision equated free speech with money, and since then political campaign spending has gotten out of control. Candidates no longer accept public funds for their election campaigns because they can now get more money elsewhere, namely from large corporate backers. It’s time to take the money out of politics and the best way to start is by ensuring that the Supreme Court does not equate money with free speech.
There are numerous issues with the idea that money is equivalent to speech, but the most troubling is one of equality. If one person has more money than another, then they are effectively entitled to more free speech than another person. Now imagine the money of one person versus one corporation. This situation poses a direct contradiction and threat to the very principles of equality and fairness that democracy is founded upon.
In the 1996 presidential election, a total of $447.9 million was spent by both candidates and their respective parties. In the 2012 presidential election that number increased by nearly seven times to an astounding $3.2 billion. The proposed amendment would serve to further define the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and clarify that money does not equal speech, thus allowing a cap to be put on all campaign spending.
The time has come to show the Supreme Court that money is not free speech and that elections should be about the issues at hand, not who can raise the most money. Please sign below to stop this propagation of inequality and restore some integrity to the first amendment and U.S. general elections.
Dear Senate Majority Leader Reid,
In the aftermath of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, campaign fiance and fund-raising have gotten out of control. The Supreme Court continues to equate money, and what people or companies choose to do with it, as free speech, which presents the U.S. with a problem: candidates no longer care about issues or using public funds to run for office, but rather look to corporations for large donations.
The issue is with equality. How can one person hope to match the spending power of an entire corporation? How can one person be allowed to effectively have more free speech than another? This situation is a direct contradiction to the values of fairness and equality that democracy is based upon and I am calling on you personally to begin rectifying it.
I am asking you to propose an amendment to the Constitution that further defines and clarifies the First Amendment. While a valuable document, the Constitution is old and almost criminally vague. The new amendment would further define the free speech granted by the First Amendment and ensure that it is never again equated with spending power. I urge you to take action as soon as possible to ensure that the 2016 election will be less of a circus than 2012.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: UpstateNYer via Wikimedia Commons