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Dennis Kucinich
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Friday 20 January 2012
“Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced H. J. Res. 100, a constitutional amendment to rescue American democracy from corporate money’s corrupting influence.”

Kucinich Announces ‘Game Changing’ Constitutional Amendment to Publicly Finance Federal Elections

On the eve of the second anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United, which opened the floodgate of unlimited, shadowy corporate spending in public elections, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced H. J. Res. 100, a constitutional amendment to rescue American democracy from corporate money’s corrupting influence.

“Because of the decision by the Supreme Court majority in the Citizens United case, more money was spent on campaigns in the 2010 election than has ever been spent in a mid-term election. 

“Because of the Citizens United case, more money will be spent in the 2012 elections than has ever been spent in an election in the history of our country. 

“Because of the Citizens United case, American democracy has been put up on the auction block,” said Kucinich.

H.J. Res.100 would require that all federal campaigns –all campaigns for President, Vice-President, Senator and Representative – be financed exclusively with public funds and prohibit any expenditures from any other source, including the candidate. H. J. Res. 100 would also prohibit any expenditures in support of, or in opposition to, any federal candidate, so that interest groups will not be able to influence elections. It will maintain the First Amendment “freedom of the press” and preserve the traditional role that the media have played in our electoral process.

“We must rescue American democracy from unlimited corporate money. This is the most fundamental issue facing the future of our nation. With corporate, private financing we have officials working for the interest of corporations. With public financing we have officials working for the public. And public financing will actually save taxpayers’ money, by eliminating any incentive of public officials to reward campaign contributors with taxpayer subsidies.

“We must eliminate the influence of money on our elections and on our policy-making.  We must eliminate the influence of special interests on our elections and on our legislation.  We must eliminate the influence of multi-national corporations and foreign corporations on the government of our country. We cannot wait. We must fight for government of the people, by the people, for the people,” said Kucinich.



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ABOUT Dennis Kucinich

Having been elected to Cleveland's City Council at age 23, Dennis J. Kucinich was well-known to Cleveland residents when they chose him as their mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. At the time, Kucinich was the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city. Since being elected to Congress in 1996, Kucinich has been a tireless advocate for worker rights, civil rights and human rights.
 

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79 comments on "Kucinich Announces ‘Game Changing’ Constitutional Amendment to Publicly Finance Federal Elections"

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Reasoner101

February 02, 2012 6:59pm

GREAT idea; now for Common Cause or another group to identify WHO will support it and who opposes this in congress. then for we, the people, to become or support candidates for congress in 2012 who run without corporate money. There are a dozen such candidates already at www.BeYourGovernment.org

Reasoner101

February 02, 2012 6:58pm

The next step is for a group like Common Cause or Public Citizen to find out where EACH incumbent regardless of party stands on this Amedment; then to stand for and support candidates who run without corporate money to challenge them. time to www.BeYourGovernment.org

Julia Quist

January 29, 2012 6:02pm

Perfect! -JQ-

Jackie Tilton

January 25, 2012 10:12am

This HAS TO pass!!!!

Prospero

January 23, 2012 2:06pm

I heartily agree, TGS10. Hadn't read your comment before I posted my own, somewhat similar remarks. These wealthy oligarchs seek to rend the very fabric of our beautiful nation in order that they might choose the threads that please them most to weave themselves the robes of royalty, and sell the remnant strands to the highest bidder. They have already begun to succeed.

NHsolarguy

January 23, 2012 8:27am

Most people, including those on your list, put public service ahead of money. The exception is corporations, which exist for no other reason than to make money. Corporations gather millions of people together that want to make a little bit of money into behemoths that compete at the levels of many governments. Corporations then identify candidates that will give them special consideration and bribe them (legally) using campaign donations and spending. The Citizens United decision facilitated this quite nicely, and was itself influenced by corporate spending.I'm not sure that government financing of campaigns is the best solution, but reversing Citizens United should be the first step.

Prospero

January 23, 2012 2:52am

Mr. Philip Johnston has hit the proverbial nail upon its head. If we can achieve the two things for which he calls, the doors will open for access to real self-government again. Whether the populace will actually get off its collective ass and go through those doors to participate in the process that could save a democratic republic from disaster is another question, but a question which cannot even be asked while living under the thumb of our current plutocratic oligarchy. A government directed and financially controlled by "fictitious entities" (entities allowed by law to limit their liability), which is now given the power of extraordinary rendition over the citizenry -- even in their own homeland -- and freed of the pesky burden of habeas corpus, should not be tolerated by a free and thinking people, by actual human beings whose forefathers gave their actual lives that subsequent generations might have these very protections against tyranny.

Fred Lee

January 22, 2012 4:23pm

In the court of public opinion, 80% of Americans are opposed to the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court. In order for an amendment to become part of the constitution, it will need to win first in the court of public opinion by law. What you say may be true about a bill introduced in Congress, but it is complete nonsense about a proposed amendment. One more proof of how little conservatives know about the constitutional amendment process, or democracy.

Fred Lee

January 22, 2012 4:20pm

In the court of public opinion, 80% of Americans are opposed to the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court. In order for an amendment to become part of the constitution, it will need to win first in the court of public opinion by law. What you say may be true about a bill introduced in Congress, but it is complete nonsense about a proposed amendment. One more proof of how little conservatives know about the constitutional amendment process, or democracy.

Wisconsin Fred

January 22, 2012 2:08pm

Typical liberal: Unable to win in the court of public opinion, he wants to limit political speach to a level set by Big Government. Thanks, but no thanks. I'll stick with the First Amendment, limiting the power of govenement over the people, not the opposite as demanded by Kucinich.

CQ

January 22, 2012 2:24am

If our parents and police, teachers and preachers, bank tellers and bank directors, ad men and sales men, media and military, farmers and pharmas -- that is, all of us -- put selfless service to others before selfish servitude to the god of MONEY, we would need no constitutional amendments to abolish corporate personhood or privately financed elections.

Nor would we need to worry about lobbyists influencing legislators, corporations corrupting cabinet secretaries, or wealthy titans wining and dining court justices.

It seems like until we Americans quit believing flowery campaign speeches and start promoting, nominating, and electing demonstrably ethical, law-abiding, courageous, creative, simple-living, fair, unpretentious, humble, peaceable, progressive, genuinely service-minded, statesmen-like men and women at all levels of government, we're going to keep spinning our wheels in ruts of disappointment and despair.

There's no reason we cannot demand of ourselves and demand of our public servants what the world needs us all to be: decent citizens who are not tempted by the lure of power, addicted to fame, crippled by fear of criticism, or governed by greed.

Let's find people with the minds and morals of Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold and Elizabeth Warren and install them in all the offices of the land. And in all the schools, places of business, and professions, while we're at it.

NHsolarguy

January 23, 2012 8:28am

Most people, including those on your list, put public service (or at least the public good) ahead of money. The exception is corporations, which exist for no other reason than to make money. Corporations gather millions of people together that want to make a little bit of money into behemoths that compete at the levels of many governments. Corporations then identify candidates that will give them special consideration and bribe them (legally) using campaign donations and spending. The Citizens United decision facilitated this quite nicely, and was itself influenced by corporate spending.

I'm not sure that government financing of campaigns is the best solution, but reversing Citizens United should be the first step.

drjonz

January 21, 2012 12:14pm

If it works Dennis' idea of publicly funding elections is the most effective way of getting political favors out of politics that I can think of. Let's go for it!!!

Tryder

January 21, 2012 10:39am

Getting money out of politics is the right thing to do, on a whole bunch of levels.

Demosthenes

January 21, 2012 9:19am

Dennis's is just one voice in the Plutocratic Wilderness. It needs all of us to add ours to his to gain the volume needed to be heard in D.C. ! The young, wise and energetic amongst us need to start a movement, get petitions signed, organize demos, collect donations, call public meetings, give speeches, write to the papers and do all that's necessary for 'all the good men and women to come to the aid of the country ' !

Since its inception , the Constitution has kept Religion out of Government. Now is the time to forever keep MONEY out as well. Let us re-kindle our Revolution.
Government Of the People , By the People , For the People NOT the Corporations ! Don't let the greedy steal our birthright and the ignorant let it slip away !

Demosthenes

January 21, 2012 3:42am

Dennis's is just one voice in the Plutocratic Wilderness. It needs all of us to add ours to his to gain the volume needed to be heard in D.C. ! The young, wise and energetic amongst us need to start a movement, get petitions signed, organize demos, collect donations, call public meetings, give speeches, write to the papers and do all that's necessary for 'all the good men and women to come to the aid of the country ' !

Since its inception , the Constitution has kept Religion out of Government. Now is the time to forever keep MONEY out as well. Let us re-kindle our Revolution.
Government Of the People , By the People , For the People NOT the Corporations ! Don't let the greedy steal our birthright and the ignorant let it slip away !

Bill Conner

January 21, 2012 2:47am

We need a Constitutional amendment which limits contributions to Congressional (also Senate and President) campaigns to $100 per person (with COLA), limits Congressional campaign expenditures to $100,000 (Senate to $100,000 times the number of Congressional districts in a state), overturns Citizens United, and limits the amount which can be spent by PACs. We don't need federal financing.

Bill Conner

January 21, 2012 2:48am

See next.

Pawink

January 20, 2012 10:10pm

How nice. You all sit there in your comfy swivel chairs, praising Dennis Kucinich for doing what any decent, sane-minded politician would do. But when he ran for President, and the MSM morons, who are so small they couldn't reach his knees, actually, publicly, called him a Dwarf, what did you do? You voted for the CorporocRat lackey, of course.
Now Dennis is doing his wonderful Don Quixote thing again, tilting at the Corporate windmill/bags, and here you all are, saying how great he is.
I wonder how many of you will actually tell your Congressman, or Senator, to vote for this amendment or you'll toss them out on their asses?
It's too bad this amendment doesn't have a snowball's chance in the Hell that is Washington today.
If by some strange fluke, it gets more than 20 votes in the House, and gets to the Senate, they'll kill it. And if they don't, and by some miracle, Obama signs it by mistake ('cos he'd never knowingly betray his Coporate buddies), not one single State legislature is going to ratify it. But let's suppose this is Fantasyland and they do, the Supreme Corporate Court will squash it like a cockroach.
America is owned, lock,stock, smoking barrel and virtually every vote in Washington, by the Koch Brothers, the Banks on Wall Street, Big Oil, and the people Greg Palast calls the Power Pirates (See his book: Vulture's Picnic!). Why? Because you let them have it, when you voted for Reagan, and the Bushes and Clinton etc. etc. etc.
And Dennis, Bernie and Elizabeth and handful of others are voices crying in the Washington Wilderness.
So dream on, but don't hold your breath.
The American Dream? More like a Nightmare, these days.

Tim Taylor

January 21, 2012 1:32pm

I feel your pain (and cynicism). One thing though. IF indeed this amendment passes, (No doubt a tremendous hurdle with a flaming hoop atop it) I don't think the Supreme Court will have any choice but to accept it. Their job is to interpret the constitution, not disect it and decide which parts they like or don't like. You can argue, and I would, that they've done a lousy job, but a clearly written amendment should be "supreme court proof." So you see? There is a sliver of sunshine.

Mark Stephenson

January 21, 2012 5:35am

Best post ever,dude, and the reason that I have totally lost faith in this country and all of its high sounding proganda and exceptionalist bullshit. What you said is the unexpurgated truth. America is done, if it ever really existed along the lines of the brainwashing they shovel on us as children in our cute little school plays with cherry trees. America is an effing, corporate, war-state, police-state lie owned by money and seasoned with pepper spray. My eyes have finally been opened, thank God.

Imagine

January 21, 2012 12:24am

pawink,

way to energize people!

Don't quit your day job to become a motivational speaker.

Brant Ra

January 20, 2012 9:28pm

Why do you need an amendment? Just go back and revisit the case and remove the procedure. Look it up in Wiki how that came about....Changing the Constitution is dangerous...

Jeannie Peterson

January 20, 2012 8:46pm

While several have proposed amendments to address the personhood of corporations, it took Dennis to address the rest of the campaign finance threat to democracy.

altagir

January 20, 2012 7:39pm

But this is only part of the problem. Once Senators and Representatives are elected to Congress, then the lobbyists corrupt them and they get away with insider trading and special deals on Mortgages. So they still end up in the pockets of big business of one sort or another. This is just bribery and also needs to be stopped if we the people want a congress that puts our interests first.

Parhiscan

January 20, 2012 7:37pm

Dennis is my Congressman and I feel very lucky to have him. Any problem his constituents have it will be taken care of. He has a top notch staff. Dennis is always on the side of the people. For those of you who do not know his history as a child he and his family were homeless and had to sleep in the family car. He truly understands. We all need to get behind him and keep the pressure on your reps and Senators. Once it passes Congress it has to make the rounds of the states so we have our work cut out.

mikeinmn

January 20, 2012 6:10pm

W....T.....F.....?

IBIndy

January 20, 2012 4:21pm

So the corporations will just make their friends in off-election years. This amendment will not work. What needs to happen is that the word "private" has to be taken out of the "public" election. Everyone who contributes, and there are many who contribute to both sides of the aisle, must state their name, rank, and serial number. But then some resolution will have to occur between our first amendment rights to free speech and the one claiming our right to privacy. Hmmmm.....

mikeinmn

January 20, 2012 6:13pm

ibindy - W...T...F....????

mikeinmn

January 20, 2012 6:11pm

W...T...F....????

IBIndy

January 20, 2012 4:18pm

So the corporations will just make their friends in off-election years. This amendment will not work. What needs to happen is that the word "private" has to be taken out of the "public" election. Everyone who contributes, and there are many who contribute to both sides of the aisle, must state their name, rank, and serial number. But then some resolution will have to occur between our first amendment rights to free speech and the one claiming our right to privacy. Hmmmm.....

dwdallam

January 20, 2012 3:59pm

Dennis is SOOOOO the man! I'll be writing in Dennis and Ralph for Pres and Vice pres.

Harvey White

January 20, 2012 4:17pm

"Modified Satire of the PLEDGE of ALLEGIANCE"

The QUESTION: Does the Supreme Court and the U.S. of A> government want us to Pledge Allegiance to the GIANT Corporations of America and to the
HUGE profits for which they stand; one nation under GIANT Corporations, with indebtedness and injustice for almost everyone {except the 1%} !?!

tgs10

January 20, 2012 3:31pm

The super PACs are the result of a disgraceful partisan supreme court ruling. They made a very serious free speech error in allowing unlimited political contributions by corporations. Essentially, they gave corporations a First Amendment right to buy a Congress that will promote their greed at the expense of the human public well being. They agreed with the saying that "money talks", and decided that money was to have free speech.

This was NOT a matter of free speech as they asserted. It IS a matter of one-man-one-vote in a republican form of government. By allowing unlimited contributions by corporations they have essentially given them as many votes as they can afford. It is the equivalent of saying that votes can be had for every x number of dollars, or that only landowners can vote; a concept proposed and rejected by our founders.

In addition, they have ignored the laws that prohibit political contributions by foreign interests because almost all publicly held companies have some stock owned by non citizens. Further, because there is no reporting requirement for contributors, foreign interests can make direct anonymous contributions to these Super PACs. Shouldn't it be a violation to let foreign interests decide who is going to be a US public servant?

Corporations are NOT people; they are commercial and legal paper entities, and they have legal protections people do not. They do not have children who need good schools, they cannot get cancer from a polluted environment, they cannot lose their lives in wars of choice, they cannot be sent to prison or jail, and they do not benefit from a happy populace. Their sole interest is in monetary profit. When corporations enter political debates with vast expenditures and propaganda, they seek to further their own interest, not those of humans. Far too often their interests prevail at the expense of the public well being because of their immense wealth.

The ruling was a fiasco that threatens the very nature of our republic. It leads us towards an oligarchy, which in our case will be a plutocracy, a rule by wealthy... paper entities with money, with some level of foreign ownership influence.

The kicker on the SCOTUS is Clarence Thomas's compromised integrity. He actually broke the law by not reporting income: and that income was from special interests that are bringing cases before the court. Not to mention his perceived lack of judicial competence.

It's really scary to know your republican form of government might depend on disease or accident to alter the bent of the SCOTUS. We have the worst, most partisan, Supreme Court in history. Maybe it's time for a constitutional amendment limiting SCOTUS terms or allowing for public recall.

Meanwhile...Senator Sanders has started a petition for another amendment to overturn this ugly ruling. If you don't think this was a good decision, go to http://sanders.senate.gov/petition/?uid=f1c2660f-54b9-4193-86a4-ec2c3934... SIGN THE PETITION

Rich Stevenson

January 21, 2012 5:04pm

TGS10: Did not copy my reply, not going to write again. You address the problems more complertely than Kucinich. Kucinich's idea is inadequate and would do little or nothing. It will not get out of committee. Bernie Sanders's ideas as an independent are not controlled by a major party= controlled by spefial interests. Rich Stevenson, candidate for US Congress OH1.

Jennewinn

January 20, 2012 2:57pm

Kucinich and Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alan Grayson all need to be able to speak and be heard.

Getting money out of the campaigns really is the only way to get this ship back on course.

Just imagine if those PACS said they would put their funds into helping real hungry homeless people instead of bashing the guts out of their political rivals - wouldn't that get more votes?

Or is helping your fellow-men too high a price to pay?

Beth Forrester

January 20, 2012 2:39pm

My exact sentiments--what would we do without Mr. Kucinich?

tman418

January 20, 2012 2:38pm

OldHat,That probably won't be such a bad thing. He won't be beholden to corporate interests and might support policies that help lower and middle class Americans.

tanelligan

January 20, 2012 3:24pm

Good point, Tyler. Also, I'm tired of people whining about "my tax dollars". Does Oldhat whine about "his tax dollars" being spent to kill fellow human beings? (I hope so!) But, really. The point is to get CORPORATE money out of the people's business of governing.

Rick Blackley

January 20, 2012 2:26pm

but we all have to put pressure on the 'good ole boys' of both parties to make sure this gets passed and out for a vote of the people ..................otherwise it does not stand a chance .............. so share the passion widely everybody ......UNITED we stand .................DIVIDED we ........ worst than fall ... we are doomed .......

Philip Johnston

January 20, 2012 2:14pm

This proposed amendment, combined with the proposed amendment to abolish the legal fiction known as corporate personhood, are the cornerstones to rescuing and restoring our beleaguered democracy. I'm not surprised it is Dennis Kucinich getting this started. Thanks, Dennis!!! You are a beacon of light in a forest of Congressional darkness.

Prospero

January 23, 2012 2:47am

Mr. Philip Johnston has hit the proverbial nail upon its head. If we can achieve the two things for which he calls, the doors will open for access to real self-government again. Whether the populace will actually get off its collective ass and go through those doors to participate in the process that could save a democratic republic from disaster is another question, but a question which cannot even be asked while living under the thumb of our current plutocratic oligarchy. A government directed and financially controlled by "fictitious entities" (entities allowed by law to limit their liability), which is now given the power of extraordinary rendition over the citizenry -- even in their own homeland -- and freed of the pesky burden of habeas corpus, should not be tolerated by a free and thinking people, by actual human beings whose forefathers gave their actual lives that subsequent generations might have these very protections against tyranny.

Prospero

January 23, 2012 2:25am

Well said, Mr. Johnston.

Jeannie Peterson

January 20, 2012 8:42pm

Bingo Philip!

Free Country

January 20, 2012 2:13pm

As much as there is a need to keep corruption out of campaign financing, there is a greater need to keep middle income taxpayers from paying for more absurdities.

somedegrees

January 20, 2012 1:47pm

Just think how upset all those employed by political advertising agencies would be! Tough! Find a real job.

Heather Evans

January 20, 2012 1:44pm

I couldn't agree more, at this stage of the game we have to back President Obama, even with his hands tired he is doing more than the knuckle draggers.