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senate Bill S. Joint Res. 5

Amending the U.S. Constitution to enable Congressional Regulation of the Raising and Spending of Money in Elections

Argument in favor

Big money's grip on elections is so tight that America is barely a democracy. It takes a solution as big as a constitutional amendment to solve a problem this broad and deep.

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05/06/2016
"In the year 2016, with a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests, I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is beginning to perish in the United States of America. We cannot allow that to happen." [berniesanders.com]
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BarackObama's Opinion
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05/06/2016
"As a consequence of my fund-raising I became more like the wealthy donors I met, in the very particular sense that I spent more and more of my time above the fray, outside the world of immediate hunger, disappointment, fear, irrationality and frequent hardship of the other 99% of the population - that is the people I’d entered public life to serve." [huffingtonpost.com]
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Joshua's Opinion
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04/13/2015
A corporations vote should never exceed the vote of a citizen. If they need something passed they should have to make a solid case to the voter so it can be voted on by the American public for our benefit. Educate, don't dictate.
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Argument opposed

The bill restricts the First Amendment right to free speech and is too narrowly focused on elections while failing to address advocacy spending. It also insulates establishment culture in Washington.

John's Opinion
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06/25/2015
It is far more important to repeal the 17th amendment and return Senate control to the a States and local Elections.
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Elinor's Opinion
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04/26/2015
No, no, no!!! Congress cannot be trusted in any way. Each major party, when in power, will hide and lie about money and elections; thus, we have no reason to let senators determine anything about the topic.
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Loraki's Opinion
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05/07/2016
Democrats File Bill to Repeal the First Amendment George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 5/23/2014 As Congress prepares for its traditional Memorial Day recess Democrats in the Senate have quietly snuck a bill to repeal the First Amendment onto calendar of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, actually a Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, is sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and 41 other Democratic and Independent Senators and will be heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3. Udall’s S.J.Res.19 would insert into the Constitution of the United States language stating that “Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections.” If passed by the requisite two-thirds majority of Congress and sent to the States and ratified by three-fourths of the States Udall’s new amendment to the Constitution would grant to Congress, and the States, the power to regulate the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination or for election to political office; and the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates. The plain language of S.J.Res 19 is clearly intended to undo the freedom of speech guarantees found in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which Democrats have made a legislative and regulatory priority, but it is also a blatant incumbent protection bill that might appeal to some Republicans. After the drubbing weak-kneed establishment Republicans like Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Idaho Representative Mike Simpson and North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers have taken this cycle at the hands of grassroots limited government constitutional conservatives limiting the financial firepower your opponent can bring to bear on you probably sounds pretty good. We agree with our friends at the National Right to Life Committee who said, “Among the many incumbent-protection-racket proposals that have been put forth under the banner of “campaign finance reform,” this proposed constitutional amendment is the most ambitious power grab – a naked attempt to permanently empower the political patrician class to substantially insulate its members from criticism by and accountability to the plebeians. Perhaps a lone speaker standing on a stool in the park, upbraiding the local congressman for a recent vote, could remain outside the scope of the restrictions that would flow from S. J. Res. 19 – but if he first went to a local copy shop to buy some leaflets to draw listeners to his presentation, he could no longer rely on the protection of the First Amendment, because S. J. Res 19 effectively removes speech about office holders and office seekers from the scope of the First Amendment.” If you think the National Right to Life Committee’s take is too alarmist or that perhaps there is indeed too much money in politics, consider this: The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights provides in part that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . .” While the First Amendment applies broadly, first and foremost it was intended to provide absolute protection for the right to speak freely about those who hold or seek political power. It is, in NRLC’s analysis, precisely that form of speech – speech about those who hold or seek offices of power in government, at the Federal or state level – that is targeted by S. J. Res. 19. Under the proposal, Congress would be granted virtually unlimited power to regulate and ration speech about those who hold or seek federal office, including both congressional and executive offices. This power would extend to “the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections,” including (but not limited to) “the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.” S. J. Res. 19 also would grant to state officeholders an equivalent power to regulate “the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to” state candidates – legislative, executive, or judicial. We agree with NRLC that it is predictable that this language will be construed to encompass not only any money spent for overt appeals to vote for or against specific “candidates,” but also to disseminate speech that criticizes “candidates” or that portrays their actions or positions in a light that they find unflattering. The power to regulate and ration political speech would extend to every mode of communication – print, electronic, broadcast, internet, etc. S. J. Res. 19 is a frontal assault on the First Amendment. If it becomes law it will create two classes of communicators on politics and public policy; those favored by incumbents with unlimited speech and communications rights, and those whose views and the expression thereof are limited because they question the status quo and incumbent elected officials. http://www.conservativehq.com/article/17320-democrats-file-bill-repeal-first-amendment
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    "In the year 2016, with a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests, I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is beginning to perish in the United States of America. We cannot allow that to happen." [berniesanders.com]
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    It is far more important to repeal the 17th amendment and return Senate control to the a States and local Elections.
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    "As a consequence of my fund-raising I became more like the wealthy donors I met, in the very particular sense that I spent more and more of my time above the fray, outside the world of immediate hunger, disappointment, fear, irrationality and frequent hardship of the other 99% of the population - that is the people I’d entered public life to serve." [huffingtonpost.com]
    Like (185)
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    A corporations vote should never exceed the vote of a citizen. If they need something passed they should have to make a solid case to the voter so it can be voted on by the American public for our benefit. Educate, don't dictate.
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    People with big money and electoral votes decide who is our president. Our republic is meant for the people to elect your leaders, but unless you're a huge company or the electoral vote you don't truly have a say in who will lead our country anymore...
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    The only way this constitutional amendment restricts first amendment rights is if you think that money is speech. Money is not speech and corporations are not people. As long as money is considered speech, speech will never be free, because those who have all the money will be the only ones who ever have their voices heard.
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    No, no, no!!! Congress cannot be trusted in any way. Each major party, when in power, will hide and lie about money and elections; thus, we have no reason to let senators determine anything about the topic.
    Like (9)
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    Share
    Democrats File Bill to Repeal the First Amendment George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 5/23/2014 As Congress prepares for its traditional Memorial Day recess Democrats in the Senate have quietly snuck a bill to repeal the First Amendment onto calendar of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, actually a Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, is sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and 41 other Democratic and Independent Senators and will be heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 3. Udall’s S.J.Res.19 would insert into the Constitution of the United States language stating that “Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections.” If passed by the requisite two-thirds majority of Congress and sent to the States and ratified by three-fourths of the States Udall’s new amendment to the Constitution would grant to Congress, and the States, the power to regulate the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination or for election to political office; and the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates. The plain language of S.J.Res 19 is clearly intended to undo the freedom of speech guarantees found in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which Democrats have made a legislative and regulatory priority, but it is also a blatant incumbent protection bill that might appeal to some Republicans. After the drubbing weak-kneed establishment Republicans like Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Idaho Representative Mike Simpson and North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers have taken this cycle at the hands of grassroots limited government constitutional conservatives limiting the financial firepower your opponent can bring to bear on you probably sounds pretty good. We agree with our friends at the National Right to Life Committee who said, “Among the many incumbent-protection-racket proposals that have been put forth under the banner of “campaign finance reform,” this proposed constitutional amendment is the most ambitious power grab – a naked attempt to permanently empower the political patrician class to substantially insulate its members from criticism by and accountability to the plebeians. Perhaps a lone speaker standing on a stool in the park, upbraiding the local congressman for a recent vote, could remain outside the scope of the restrictions that would flow from S. J. Res. 19 – but if he first went to a local copy shop to buy some leaflets to draw listeners to his presentation, he could no longer rely on the protection of the First Amendment, because S. J. Res 19 effectively removes speech about office holders and office seekers from the scope of the First Amendment.” If you think the National Right to Life Committee’s take is too alarmist or that perhaps there is indeed too much money in politics, consider this: The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights provides in part that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . .” While the First Amendment applies broadly, first and foremost it was intended to provide absolute protection for the right to speak freely about those who hold or seek political power. It is, in NRLC’s analysis, precisely that form of speech – speech about those who hold or seek offices of power in government, at the Federal or state level – that is targeted by S. J. Res. 19. Under the proposal, Congress would be granted virtually unlimited power to regulate and ration speech about those who hold or seek federal office, including both congressional and executive offices. This power would extend to “the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections,” including (but not limited to) “the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.” S. J. Res. 19 also would grant to state officeholders an equivalent power to regulate “the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to” state candidates – legislative, executive, or judicial. We agree with NRLC that it is predictable that this language will be construed to encompass not only any money spent for overt appeals to vote for or against specific “candidates,” but also to disseminate speech that criticizes “candidates” or that portrays their actions or positions in a light that they find unflattering. The power to regulate and ration political speech would extend to every mode of communication – print, electronic, broadcast, internet, etc. S. J. Res. 19 is a frontal assault on the First Amendment. If it becomes law it will create two classes of communicators on politics and public policy; those favored by incumbents with unlimited speech and communications rights, and those whose views and the expression thereof are limited because they question the status quo and incumbent elected officials. http://www.conservativehq.com/article/17320-democrats-file-bill-repeal-first-amendment
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    Democracy must be governed by the voices and votes of Americans. Congress should have the constitutional right to protect our democracy.
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    WE DESPERATELY NEED TO TAKE BIG MONEY OUT OF OUR ELECTIONS. THIS A DANGER TO OUR DEMOCRACY ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT!
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    Spending on elections is completely out of control. Elections are no longer about who is the best candidate to represent their constituents because the elections are being bought by the highest bidder. BILLIONS of dollars are spent by corporations and super PACs. The money spent on elections could solve many of our country's problems if it was invested into education, transportation, infrastructure, etc.
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    This will not work. And America never was a democracy. We are a republic.
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    Corporations should not be allowed to spend endless amounts of money to help or hurt an individual candidate. I propose there be limits to how much an individual or a corporation can give to either a federal or state's election. I think donations should not be made to individual candidates, but rather should be given to the party who's candidate best represents our views. And then I think elections should set a budget for how much could be spent on campaigns. A different budget limit could be set for federal races and for state campaigns. I also would like to see a limit on how long a campaign could last so that all candidates would not start their campaigns before their opponent(s).
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    Obviously this bill has not been created for the purpose of getting rid of corruption and big money in politics. The people who created it are the big money and corruption... They're the ones profiting off the weak.
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    This limits first amendment rights, so no good. What we should have is laws on the books that make it a requirement for transparency in funding: who is funding the candidates? What corporations are funding candidates? And the same goes for those in office already: who is throwing money their way? The trick here isn't to limit funding, but to make it known where the money is coming from. Citizens can then make more informed decisions about who to vote for, as this will empower us to know what ideals a candidate truly stands for.
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    The Constitution was formulated to create limited government. I don't think this amendment limits the government. Instead, it limits the right to free speech and association of one segment of the population at the expense of another segment. And who will tell one from the other? The government. Hell, no. I don't support this amendment.
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    We say one person, one vote. but really, it's a race for whoever will give the most money, so politicians can sell themselves to more voters. It's revolting.
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    Never!!!!
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    The cost of getting elected drives our elected officials into the hands of deep pockets. Regardless of the causes those deep pockets support, they do not reflect the will of the people. The people should fund the election rather than deep pocketed influence groups (either companies, individuals, or PAC's). Either the government should fund ALL candidates (not just Democrats and Republicans) or the amount each group can contribute should be capped.
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    We need to take big money out of elections, it's ridiculous seeing the Koch Brothers spend more money on elections than the Democrats and Republicans. There should be some limit in terms of how much a corporation can sponsor a candidate or political figure. Politicians should raise funds from the people's donations and support, not easily by Super PAC's and billionaires with the agenda of getting more tax breaks. I'm sick and tired of political figures following the orders of billionaires, with the support of creating even MORE tax breaks for the wealthy, that don't need them in the first place, while removing funds for government social programs. Just recently with the Democratic debate, CNN was showing that Clinton won, while the internet said that Sanders won by a big margin. CNN were deleting pro-Sanders comments on articles. This is due to CNN being owned by Time Warner, which Time Warner is a corporation that is funding Clinton's campaign. That is a real recent example of how there should be regulations in terms of corporations raising funds for potential political leaders in the senate, and hopefully, to all positions in the government. I hope that my local representatives and senators realize that this practice has been going on especially since the Bush tax breaks that were given to the wealthy, and how it was suppose to stimulate the economy, leading us into an economic recession. Corporations shouldn't have the ability to influence the government in a major way, and to stop this, there needs to be major regulation in terms of how much a corporation or person can give to a political candidate or figure. I hope the American public open their eyes to what is going on in Congress, with the moral injustice of giving the wealthy unneeded tax breaks while cutting essential social programs for low income families. This will hopefully end if corporations don't have a major voice in Congress. Please go contact your local reps/state senators and urge them to vote yes on this very important bill.
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