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Corporate Constitutional Rights and Campaign Spending to be Considered in House Rules CommitteeSalem-News.com
The HJM 6 hearing has been pre-empted by a PERS reform agenda and will be rescheduled at a later date.
(SALEM) - UPDATE: The HJM 6 hearing has been pre-empted by a PERS reform agenda and will be rescheduled at a later date.
On Wednesday, March 27 at 3:00, a measure addressing the interrelated issues of money in politics and the legal status of corporations will go before the Oregon House Rules Committee. House Joint Memorial 6 calls on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to establish that (a) corporations are not people and therefore they should not have the same constitutional rights as people, and (b) money is not speech and legislatures, not courts, can regulate political spending, as the founders intended and the Constitution states in Article I, Section 4.
Rep. Brian Clem (Salem) introduced HJM6 on the opening day of the 2013 Oregon Legislature. The measure is supported by a coalition, Oregonians for Restoring Constitutional Democracy, composed of eight Move to Amend affiliates in Oregon, Main Street Alliance, Common Cause, Alliance for Democracy, Oregon PeaceWorks, and other organizations. Other sponsors of HJM 6 include Phil Barnhart (Central Lane/Linn County), Michael Dembrow (Portland), Paul Holvey (Eugene), Carolyn Tomei (Portland) and Brad Witt (Clatskanie).
“This is an issue of enormous and growing public concern, both here in Oregon and across the country,” said Kate Titus, executive director of Common Cause Oregon. “Polling indicates 9 in 10 Americans think corporations have too much influence in our elections and 8 in 10 support overturning Citizens United.”
“I heard repeatedly from my constituents that corporations and special interests have far too much influence over our national political debate,” said Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie).
Everywhere that voters have had the opportunity to weigh in on this issue, measures have passed by a greater than 2 to 1 margin. Here in Oregon, 115,600 voters in four communities passed MTA-inspired ballot measures last November with an overall average of 74% approval. Ten other Oregon communities passed resolutions or referrals through their city or county, joining hundreds of similar local resolutions nationwide. Twelve states have now called on Congress to pass an amendment on these issues.
“Small business owners statewide see this as a struggle to restore democracy between Wall Street and Main Street,” notes Main Street Alliance of Oregon director Lee Mercer. “72% of Oregon businesses we polled last year would support a constitutional amendment declaring corporations are not people and money is not speech.”
“Most people are aware that large corporations exert undue influence on our elections and government,” said Kirk Leonard of Marion Polk Move to Amend. “More troubling for our democracy is over a century of federal court rulings which have granted the constitutional protections of real people to statutory, corporate entities. These rulings – ‘judge-made laws’ – allow mega-organizations to wield enormous political influence and evade laws, health and safety regulations, and environmental protections.”
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