Meeting Notes - 061814



June 18, 2014



Present: Matthew Munk, Chief Organizer, CROP; Charly Carter, Executive Director, Maryland Working Families; Jean Athey, leader of the Fund Our Communities Campaign; Michael Lore, Eli and Scott Morton; Adam Leech, Chris Croke, Doug Miller;  Suman and Dharna Noor; Dianne Black; Joe and Sue Garonzik; Gene Balbierz; Noel Levy; Dan Gutkin; Lily Wang; Chris Martin; Ruth Alice White; Jon Wiener; Pam Berry; Board Members Joe Adams (Secretary), Wylie Burge, Hillary Kruh, Angad Singh, Mark Patro (Vice President, and Charlie Cooper (President).

Michael Lore and Charlie Cooper reported on the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing of June 3.  GMOM Board member Bonnie Lane also attended along with supporters Bob Guldin and Darrell Tschakert.  Charlie Cooper’s written/video report is attached.

Charlie reported that GMOM now has 636 supporters, including 56 new people since the end of the legislative session.  Wylie Burge reported good success in training new recruits with the Theory of Change presentation supplied by Wolf PAC.


Matthew Munk gave a brief presentation on CROP – Coalition of Rooted Organizing Projects.  GMOM provided voters lists for their target areas: Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Southern Maryland.  They have organizers in place and can use the lists to contact people by various methods, including door-to-door.  They will support GMOM’s campaign for the Democracy Amendment.

Charly Carter gave a similar briefing on Maryland Working Families.  It is a new organization but with affiliates in several other states, fighting to expand the middle class.  They also have organizers in place in districts that are important for GMOM and are prepared to support GMOM’s campaign for the Democracy Amendment.

Jean Athey reported for Fund Our Communities.  Comprised of dozens of organizations (which were listed on the back of the meeting agenda), they have had direct experience with the money power of defense contractors defeating their legislative initiatives and are prepared to actively support GMOM’s campaign for the Democracy Amendment.


Charlie reported that our Wolf PAC affiliate in California has now seen their resolution passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 5-2.  Since the lower chaber has already acted favorably in January, this vote paves the way for California to becomes the second state to issue the convention call for the 28th Amendment.

The U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on amending the Voting Rights Act (in light of Shelby v. Holder) on Wednesday, June 25.

Maryland Committee to Amend has planned the following activities:

  • Friday June 20 – distribute leaflets at the showing of the new film, “Citizen Koch” at West End Cinema, 2301 M Street NW, Wash., DC.
  • Takoma Park Fourth of July Parade. We’ll have a banner and some flyers to hand out along the route.





Brainstorming for Key District Action:

Partial Notes from Monthly Meeting of June 18, 2014


GMOM has the following District Captains:

ü  Mark Patro – District 8

ü  Darrell Tschakert – District 17

ü  Wylie Burge – District 30

ü  Angad Singh – District 42


The meeting concluded with the entire group brainstorming actions and strategies for district teams:

       Tabling (e.g., at MOM’s) in key districts with immediate cell calls to delegate’s/senator’s office.  E-mailing is ok for those who don’t want to call.

       Script out what we want people to say to delegates/senators

  • One script for raising the general issue of the corruption of money in politics and the need for reform
  • A more specific script asking for support for The Democracy Amendment Resolution

       Canvas – if we can identify fruitful neighborhoods

       Connect with churches and other groups in key areas

       Connect with college groups

       Develop a team roster document for each district to facilitate

       communication within the team

       Speak up when you see your delegate/senator at the beauty parlor, grocery store, . . . .

       Raise our issue at a League of Women Voters debate

       Join a team nearby if you don’t live in a key district

       Call in to radio talk shows

       Activate GMOM phonebanking to recruit team members, especially for Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties

       Encourage people to write:

  • Letters to editor
  • Op-eds
  • To senators/delegates




HEARING OF JUNE 3, 2014, ON S. J. RES. 19


Presented June 18, 2014 at GMOM Monthly Meeting

(Acknowledgement to Bob Guldin’s Account for the material in italics.)

The Senate Judiciary hearing June 3 at the Hart Senate Office Building was big. In fact, it had to be moved to the largest hearing room available – probably about 300 people attended.

The hearing, on the “Udall amendment” was officially titled “Examining a Constitutional Amendment to Restore Democracy to the American People.” It’s also known as the Udall amendment, after its chief sponsor, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) It proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn Citizens United.

Note that H. J. Res. 19 allows regulation of contributions and expenditures but says nothing about the line of SCOTUS cases that seem to imply that corporations have constitutional rights.  H. J. Res. 18 by Sen. Tester would fix that, but the Democratic leadership has not moved that resolution.

Word had gone out that the lead-off witnesses would be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, which helped to draw the large crowd. Pro-amendment groups like Public Citizen, Move to Amend and People for the American Way also asked supporters to attend. At one point, activists wheeled in cardboard boxes containing petitions with two million signatures in favor of an amendment – an impressive visual show.

Ryan Clayton, Executive Director of Wolf PAC was one of the activists who wheeled in the stack of  a dozen or so boxes full of petitions.  (See attached photo.)  It was said that there were 2 million signatures.

Ryan with Petitions

The Senate Democratic leadership reportedly has decided to hold a floor vote on the amendment this summer, and all of the senators’ statements and questions reflected their parties’ position. All Democrats spoke or leaned in favor, all Republicans were strongly critical.

Harry Reid said the nation needs to block “a flow of dark money.” He said the fundraising and spending in his 1998 made him feel “unclean.”  I hope that it did not corrupt me," Reid said. "But it was corrupting."  Reid said that in his next race, after passage of the McCain-Feingold bill limiting campaign contributions, "I felt like I'd taken a bath."  After the court gutted McCain-Feingold, during his 2010 race, it was "back to the sewer.”

Read more:

Mitch McConnell said the Democrats’ “goal is to stir up the party’s political base so they’ll show up in November.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a member of the committee, was the most extreme opponent, saying the Udall amendment would effectively repeal the First Amendment.  Video of McConnell: 10-47 seconds:

Democrats cited S. J. Res. 166, introduced by Sen. McConnell on June 19, 1987, a proposed constitutional amendment to regulate “the amounts of expenditures a candidate may make from his personal funds or the personal funds . . . and congress may enact laws regulating the amounts of independent expenditures by any person, other than by a . . . political party . . . .”

Three additional people also testified as expert witnesses: Floyd McKissick Jr., an African American state senator and civil rights leader from North Carolina; Floyd Abrams, a celebrated civil liberties advocate who opposes the Udall amendment because it would limit speech; and brilliant constitutional lawyer, amendment advocate and Maryland state senator Jamie Raskin, who said, “If we do nothing now, the people will no longer govern the corporations – the corporations will govern the people.”

The hearing ended without any motions made or votes taken.  There was a markup meeting on S. J. Res. 19 today in Sen. Durbin’s Subcommittee.

Jamie, I thought, did a good job of trying to keep the issue of limiting corporate constitutional rights before the Committee.  Of course, the Udall Amendment (SJR 19) doesn’t have any provision to limit corporate constitutional rights.  Jamie Raskin on why money is not speech, 1 min. 15 sec.:

Jamie Raskin on unwarranted corporate power in politics, 1 min. 35 sec.:  Start at 1:25:40 – 1:26:47

 I thought Sen. Klobuchar of Minnesota scored the most telling hit on opponents of the amendment just before a break in the questioning.  She asked Floyd Abrams, a respected constitutional lawyer, who is part of the brain trust that led to the filing of an amicus curiae brief with the SCOTUS in favor of Citizens United in the 2010 case, whether he would favor eliminating individual limits.  He replied that he thinks it would be ok if there were rapid disclosure (which, of course, there isn’t) and that he could see the Supreme Court going in that direction.  Jamie and Floyd exchange provided by Jaisal Noor:

Of course, this undermines even the quid pro quo standard which the Court has tried to maintain as the only remaining constitutional basis for any regulation of campaign contributions or spending.  Jamie pounced on this answer.

Hopefully, this exchange will give amendment advocates some material with which to further erode the position of defenders of Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC.  However, it has gotten absolutely no media play.  We need to figure out how to “capitalize” on it.




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published this page in Past Events & Meetings 2014-06-23 17:02:11 -0400
Get Money Out - Maryland
Working in Maryland so that all citizens have equal access to the ballot and an equal say in governance.