Letter to the Editor: Supporting the We the People Amendment – Wicked Local

Posted: January 25, 2020 at 1:52 pm

David Weiss / brookline@wickedlocal.com

SaturdayJan25,2020at9:00AM

Ten years ago, in its Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court chose to protect the rights of wealthy interests to corrupt our system of political campaign financing. It did so through the fiction that corporations entities authorized and regulated by state governments are entitled to the same Constitutional rights as people, and that spending money is a form of speech protected under the First Amendment. There is widespread agreement across the political spectrum that this Supreme Court decision defies common sense. The way our political campaigns are financed exposes our elected officials to powerfully corrupting influences. In deciding to protect this distorted concept of rights, the Supreme Court chose not to protect our elected officials, our government and the personal and financial health, safety and well-being of the American people from those powerful influences.

One example: contributions from pharmaceutical companies to candidates for president and Congress may not guarantee their first choice for FDA commissioner, but it will certainly get them veto power over a nominee who would not protect their interests. This kind of influence shows up throughout government, whether a Democratic or Republican administration or which party rules in Congress. Because armies of highly paid lawyers are employed in protecting this corrupt influence, the only way to establish authority that will restore sanity and eliminate this corruption, is through a Constitutional Amendment that states unequivocally that corporations are not people and money is not a protected form of speech.

The We the People Amendment has been introduced in Congress, and a commission to draft a resolution to Congress regarding such amendment was passed by ballot question in Massachusetts in 2018. Some good government groups are supporting half-way measures that do not explicitly reject the bogus concept that corporations are entitled to the same rights as people. These half-way amendments would allow skilled lawyers to undermine efforts to regulate political contributions. The We the People Amendment is the only effective way to reduce corporate control of our government that can withstand the ferocious efforts that opposing interests will make to overturn it. Eight Massachusetts Representatives including Joe Kennedy have co-sponsored this amendment (HJ Res 48). Sens. Warren and Markey should do the same in the Senate.

David Weiss, Parkman Street

The Brookline TAB verifies and reviews all letters to the editor we receive. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not those of the TAB.

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Letter to the Editor: Supporting the We the People Amendment - Wicked Local

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