OPP calls for 28th Constitutional Amendment: Corporations are not people and money is not speech

The Oregon Progressive Party calls for a U.S. constitutional amendment which declares in clear and unequivocal language that:
Corporations Are Not People and 
Money is not Speech
American history is a long battle between democracy (We the People) and elitist power of corporations and the wealthy.  The balance has been tilted in favor of the wealthy 1% and the national/multinational corporations by various U.S. Supreme Court cases.  In a series of decisions beginning with the 1886 Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad, our rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights have been declared by the courts to belong to corporations, the artificial creations of the states. These decisions have given corporations constitutional rights

of the


1st Amendment - Freedom of religion
4th Amendment - Freedom from random searches
4th Amendment - Search and seizure protection
5th Amendment - Protection against Government Taking of Property without Just Compensation
6th Amendment - Right to jury trial in a criminal case
7th Amendment - Right to jury trial in a civil case
14th Amendment - Equal protection and due process rights

Not only have our rights been given to corporations, so has the people’s ability to control money in the political process. In decisions, starting in 1976 with Buckley v Valeo, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared limitations on candidate spending to be an unconstitutional infringement on free speech rights. The Court in 1978 declared unconstitutional limits on corporate expenditures on ballot measure campaigns (First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti). The 2010 Citizens United decision then eliminated the ban on direct corporate expenditures in candidate elections. And in the 2014 McCutcheon v FEC decision declared aggregate limits on political contributions per person to be void.

Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court has eliminated the People’s abilities to control financing of election campaigns, resulting in a plutocratic/corporate-cratic system allowing unlimited involvement by corporations and the wealthy in selecting our candidates and getting them elected and deciding what ballot measures are enacted. Even those candidates and public officials who were not chosen by the corporations in the first place must look over their shoulders to see which corporate interests might be offended by decisions and subsequently bury them by funding an opponent.

Because these are U.S. Supreme Court decisions, one remedy would be amending the U.S. Constitution. Many amendments have been proposed. Some address one issue or the other but not both. Others address both but in an ineffective manner, allowing Congress to make “reasonable” laws to regulate money in politics. Such “reasonable” limits would be subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the problem creator. They might also say that Congress can distinguish between natural people and corporations. With Congress in the employ of corporations, it is not likely to act.

We need a single constitutional amendment which clearly states that Corporations Are Not People, without leaving it to Congress to say that. And it must also declare that Money Is Not Speech and that Congress, the States and local governments have the right and ability to enact limitations on the use of money in the political system, including bans on corporate involvement in all election campaigns.

Such an amendment has been proposed: HJR 29 (2013), the Pocan “We the People” amendment. The Oregon Progressive Party calls upon our U.S. Representatives and Senators to sponsor and promote the passage of this amendment and, upon its being sent to the states for approval, calls upon on the Oregon Legislature to immediately ratify it.


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