So Much Closer, but No Resolution in 2015 - April 14, 2015
We came very, very close to an amazing victory last night. The GMOM volunteers and supporters again made a heroic effort and showing that we should all be proud of, breaking our all-time phone banking record. The Senate, which had passed our full Democracy Amendment Resolution as we intended 29-18 on March 31, stood firm yesterday in not accepting the House's version of SJ 2. The House had amended it yesterday morning (following the recommendation of the House Rules Committee) to merely duplicate the letter the General Assembly had already sent Congress in January 2013. Its amended bill would have asked Congress to propose such an Amendment, while not asserting its own power and right to pursue the same. In the end, the House of Delegates did not appoint members of a conference committee to iron out differences with the Senate.
We geared up to demonstrate to both our allies and opponents, that we have profound determination; a formidable capacity to inspire and mobilize people; and an impressive and growing reservoir of voter, legislator and volunteer support. Such an active citizenry is the only antidote to the onslaught of big money in politics that is undermining our representative democracy and driving our nation on its deepening descent to oligarchy.
The GMOM team will take the time we need to reflect, reassess, and regroup. Then we will develop and involve supporters in implementing a new action plan that will lead to victory. Your courage and determination to engage and enlist state legislators and fellow citizens in this cause merit great praise. Succeeding generations will owe you eternal gratitude and reverence for being among the pioneering Mothers and Fathers who restored and strengthened our besieged American democracy, using the very tools its founders so wisely provided.
We extend special gratitude to several legislative champions:
- Senate sponsor Paul Pinsky
- Senator Jamie Raskin
- Committee Chairman Joan Carter Conway
- Senate President Mike Miller
- House sponsor Sheila Hixson
Senate Passes Democracy Amendment 29-18
April 8 after final, third reading! (Maryland Reporter)
READ THE BILL: SJ 2 (4 pp)
Special thanks to these Committee Leaders:
Four States Pass Amendment Resolutions!
Four other states, Vermont, California, Illinois and New Jersey have passed resolutions in both chambers and sent them on to Congress. Let's make Maryland next!
Progress in 2014
- Dec 5, 2014, Illinois becomes the 3rd state!
- Nov. 4,& 2014, Move To Amend Ballots Won in 5 States.
- May 2, Vermont became the first state to pass a resolution (JRS 27, more) calling for a convention for the 28th Amendment for Free and Fair Elections. California became the second June 23 (AJR 1). Let's make sure Maryland joins them in 2015! READ MORE...
- Resolution SJ 6, sponsored by Sen. Jamie Raskin (right), was reported on favorably April 7 in the Senate Environment Health and Education Committee on by a vote of 9-2. Resolution HJ 7, sponsored by Del. Sheila Hixson (left), was heard in the House Rules Committee on March 3. Our witnesses pushed on thru snow and ice and the hearing was quite successful. View testimony video (40 min.; begin at 17:45)
MORE NEWS & VIEWS
IMPORTANT READ: Why super PACs have moved from sideshow to center stage for presidential hopefuls, W. Post 3/12/15
- NEW: Md. Rep. John Sarbanes' HR 20 Seeks Public Campaign Funding Reform for Congress; W. Post 3/25/15
Should McDonald's & Monsanto Have the Same Rights as People?
A Debate on Corporate Personhood, DemocracyNOW/Pacifica Radio
- Baltimore Sun: Spare Annapolis the dysfunction of D.C., 3/10/15
- Is It Sheldon Adelson’s World? NYT, Thomas Friedman 3/11/15
POPE FRANCIS: "Separate special interest money from politics." Read EveryVoice &
Pope Tackles Campaign Finance & Weighs in on Campaign finance, W. Post 3/11/15
- Rally & Lobby Day Jan. 27 draws 100 to Annapolis:
Photos|News release |Article in Southern Md. Online
- WAMU FM (NPR DC) Rally coverage by Matt Bush
- Hear Charlie Cooper, John Nichols and John Malcolm on
Mark Steiner on 5th Anniversary of Citizens United Jan. 21
Hear "Midday with Dan Rodricks" Citizens United 5 Years Later, Jan. 26: Starts with Sen. Jamie Raskin, then Cato Inst., then GMOM's Charlie Cooper (at 36:11)
- Hear Wylie Burge & Herb Ettel on WPFW-DC (FF to 38:20 min.)
"Pay 2 Play" FREE Screenings co-hosted by GMOM, MCA, Common Cause, and Progressive Maryland
How "We the People" will amend the Constitution:
Corporations are not "people," money is not "speech"
GMOM (Get Money Out – Maryland) is working to get the Maryland legislature to pass a joint resolution formally calling for a Convention of the States (or "Article V Convention") to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution for free and fair elections and overturn Citizens United. When two thirds of the states do likewise, the convention must be convened.
Citizens United v. FEC is the disastrous 2010 Supreme Court decision which ruled that corporations cannot be limited in the amount they spend on elections, because of the Court's constructs of "corporate personhood" -- the common sense-defying notions that corporations have constitutional rights as if they were people, including "freedom of speech" -- and that spending money constitutes "speech." States calling for a convention (for the purpose of proposing amendments) is the key, as spelled out in Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
We believe this is more likely to succeed than trying to get Congress to propose such an amendment in the traditional manner. Sixteen (16) states and over 550 localities have already passed resolutions calling on Congress to propose such an amendment, without calling for a convention of the states. Congress is free to ignore that type of resolution as it always has. Most recently, the U.S. House failed to take action on even a weak bill the Senate passed.
It is hard to imagine an institutionally corrupt Congress could ever propose an amendment seeking fundamental reform too end the political corruption of big money in elections on which they depend so greatly for re-election. All federal legislators won their seats by raising extraordinary sums from special interests in this blatantly corrupt system. Thus tragically, we have already lost our democracy at the federal level. Happily state legislatures are still responsive, for now, to the democratic process and popular pressure. It is clear only states can achieve this kind of amendment, by bypassing Congress and calling for and convening a convention. This convention of the states is key.
More Articles & Resources
- National donors pick winners in state elections: Top 50 contributors dump $440 million into 2014 races; 1/28/15 Center for Public Integrity
- Gains From Economic Recovery Still Limited to Top One Percent; NY Times 1/27/15
- Bernie Sanders is right to be outraged; By Dana Milbank 1/30/15
- True cost of Citizens United: Roberts Court's darkest hour revisited; Salon 1/24/15
- 'Koch Primary' Tests Hopefuls In the G.O.P.; NY Times 1/21/15
- 3 New Reports from Demos and from Brennan Center Citizens United 5 Years later & Senate spending since CU
- Initiative spending booms past $1 billion as corporations sponsor proposals; Wash. Post 11/8/15
- BOOK: Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps; Greg Palast
- Corporations Get $760 from Gov't for Every Dollar They Spend on Elections
- See Video of Sen. Jamie Raskin (below), AU professor of constitutional law, explaining the need for the Democracy Amendment at GMOM's Annapolis forum 1/22/14
Have fun as you make change with fellow Marylanders
Maryland has scores of state legislators supporting passage of a "Democracy Amendment" resolution during the 2015 General Assembly Session. Here are ways you can help us make it one of the first states to formally call for an Article V Convention -- for free and fair elections.
- Call Get Money Out - Maryland at 410-849-0670.
- Comment at our Google Group for Maryland.
- E-mail us at admin@GetMoneyOutMD.org
- Sign the Petition : "I support a constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people and they do not have the right to spend money to buy our politicians." (www.Wolf-Pac.com)
- And TAKE ACTION NOW!