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Friday, December 16, 2011

Occupy the Constitution

Get Money Out of Politics!

By David DeGraw
Occupy Wall Street
Friday, December 16, 2011

One of the most popular 99% Movement and Occupy Wall Street issues is getting money out of politics.

In a country where the candidate who spends the most money on
their campaign wins the election 94% of the time, it is blatantly
obvious that our electoral process is dominated by the richest
global financial interests.

By saturating the campaign finance and lobbying system with
an endless supply of cash, Wall Street has rigged the political
and economic system against hard working Americans.

In unprecedented fashion, they have consolidated wealth into
the hands of one-tenth of one percent of the population, at the
expense and suffering of the American people.

If you’re wondering why we have the most severe inequality of
wealth in American history; if you’re wondering why we currently
have an all-time record number of Americans living in poverty,
while we have all-time record profits and bonuses on Wall Street,
it is primarily the result the richest members of society being
able to manipulate and control the legislative process through a
system of legalized political bribery.

For us to take the first crucial step in solving the many problems we currently face, we have to create an amendment to the Constitution to get money out of politics.

Thankfully, there is huge momentum building on this front. Here’s a brief summation of the newly proposed amendments, courtesy of the Get Money Out campaign.

Hopefully, with your leadership, one of these amendments, or
elements of a few of them, will soon become the 28th amendment
to the US Constitution:

1) Rep. Ted Deutch – OCCUPIED Amendment (or Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy)

Introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the amendment
reverses Citizen’s United by stating that corporations are not
people under the Constitution, and that corporations are barred
from making election-related expenditures.

It authorizes Congress and the states to regulate all election
contributions and expenditures, and reaffirms Congress’ right
to regulate corporations.

2) Sen. Bernie Sanders – Saving American Democracy Amendment

Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment in the Senate
that mirrors the OCCUPIED amendment in the House.

Introducing this “companion bill” in the Senate allows both houses
of Congress to begin debate on the same bill without having to wait
for the other to pass it. Learn more. Read the amendment.

3) Cenk Uygur, Wolf PAC – Wolf PAC Amendment

Wolf PAC, a group started by progressive TV and radio host Cenk Uygur, reverses corporate personhood and prohibits corporations from giving to any politician.

The amendment also sets a cap of $100 on all political donations and it establishes a public system to fund political campaigns. Read the amendment.

4) Senator Tom Udall – Udall Amendment

Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) along with eight other Democratic Senators proposed an amendment that gives Congress the power to regulate all money spent on campaigns and outside political groups such as Super PACs.

It allows states to regulate state elections in the same manner. It would clear the way for Congress to pass reform legislation that would limit spending and would withstand a challenge in the Supreme Court. Read the amendment.

5) Rep. Jim McGovern and Free Speech for People – The People’s Right’s Amendment

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced the amendment with the support of Free Speech for People, a non-profit group that aims to end corporate personhood.

The amendment states that people or persons as used in the
Constitution does not include corporations and that corporations
are subject to regulation by the people through their elected
representatives. Read the amendment.

6) Public Citizen – Democracy is for People Amendment

Pursued by the non-profit group Public Citizen, the amendment
would reverse the Citizen’s Uniteddecision and permit Congress
to regulate political spending by corporations.

The amendment has not been drafted into specific language, but
is based on a set of core principles. Read those principles and get
more information.

7) Russell Simmons – Simmons Amendment

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons announced support for
an amendment in a speech to Occupy Boston protesters.

The amendment establishes public funding of political campaigns
and prohibits any political contributions from any source. It gives
Congress the authority to design and enforce the public funding
system. Read the full text of the amendment.

8) Rep. Donna Edwards – Edwards Amendment

Introduced by Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md.), the
amendment would overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme
Court ruling by allowing Congress to regulate political
spending by corporations.

9) Rep. Kurt Schrader – Schrader Amendment

Introduced by Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), the
amendment authorizes Congress and the states to regulate
the contribution of all funds to candidates and the expenditure
of funds to influence elections. Read the amendment.

10) Rep. Marcy Kaptur – Kaptur Amendment

Introduced by Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), the
amendment authorizes Congress and the states to set limits on
the contributions that may be accepted by and the expenditures
that may be made in support or in opposition to candidates
running for public office.

11) Move to Amend – Move to Amend

A group opposed to corporate personhood, Move to Amend, has
proposed an amendment that would overturn Citizen’s United by
affirming that corporations are not people and can be regulated,
and that money is not speech and can be regulated.

12) Get Money Out – Get Money Out Amendment

The amendment was proposed by the Get Money Out organization, which was started by MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, and became a part of United Republic in late 2011.

The amendment prohibits corporations from making political
donations and affirms that political donations are not speech,
which allows Congress to regulate them. It also makes election
day a federal holiday.

13) Lawrence Lessig – Lessig Amendment

Lawrence Lessig, Harvard professor and founder of Rootstrikers, which joined forces with United Republic in late 2011, introduced an amendment that prohibits corporations from contributing money to any candidate, limits campaign contributions to $100, and gives Congress the power to regulate outside campaign spending.

It also establishes Election Day as a national holiday.

So that’s the team so far. Join us at

Tell your friends. Let the world know.

David DeGraw is the editor of His long-awaited book, The Road Through 2012, will finally be released on September 28th. He can be emailed at

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