National Intervention uses the amendment process as a “sobriety test” or “sobriety checkpoint” for elected officials and those who attempt to influence elected officials.
Like many, we want a truly level political playing field in our democracy. Whatever it is you may want to achieve in your democracy, if you are not in the 0.125% of the population who currently influences policy effectively, you require a change to the law of the land before you have the power We the People originally had to direct our own government. The following are the 3 main criteria National Intervention seeks in a sobriety test for those who say they can quit corporate power and money in politics any time they want. As a sobriety test, it must be a sound 28th Amendment – any amendment language that gets the whole job done, and in time to make any difference at all.
Money Out of Politics (and all other direct, in-kind or indirect moneyed influence):
Naturally, any unequal moneyed influence, direct or indirect, that is out of reach for any participant must then be omitted as an option for all participants. We, the People, Democratists and Interventionists alike, want zero advantages or disadvantages when it comes to true democracy in action. Nearly no ordinary citizen can compete with the $2.1 billion in campaign ads from the 2008 election any more than a typical constituent could compete with the $4.2 billion in political ads from the 2010 midterm after the Citizens United Ruling, or the $10 billion in political ad spending forecast for the next election. We call for an explicit clause in the amendment that grants each citizen the inalienable Civic Right to 100% publicly-financed, citizen-owned elections. If elections are to involve contributions of any kind from anyone, those contributions must be financed publicly. If elections are to involve air-time of any kind, our Federal Communications Commission must be instructed to allow equal time, for free, on any airwaves (all of which are wholly owned by the public and only leased to corporations). National Intervention will only endorse a 28th Amendment that sobers up our system with these requirements.
Corporations as Regulated Property, not People:
Corporations are not people and their attempts over the past 150 years to get constitutional rights as human beings has undermined the human’s ability to control the corporation. While states may afford privileges to corporations under their charters, unending life without limitations for corporations as persons should never have become part of our law through Court rulings. National Intervention will only support an amendment that guarantees that only human beings have rights as persons in the US Constitution. Corporations must return to their role as regulated property, entities controlled by persons, not persons controlling us like property.
Money Is Not Speech:
With corporations as regulated entities, instead of empowered with the same rights as human beings, this is a formality. Nonetheless, it is worth reviewing that the amendment should re-affirm beyond any measure that money or any form of moneyed influence, direct, in-kind or indirect, is not equal to speech and is not protected in the US political system at any level. While eliminating corporate personhood will eliminate the reason the US Supreme Court ruled that money is equal to speech, there should be no other imaginable or unimaginable means by which money or any other form of moneyed influence can ever be considered speech in this society ever again. National Intervention will support a 28th Amendment that re-asserts once and for all that money is never to count as speech in this democratic republic.
Endorsement Requirements: A Fully Empowered Amendment
There are several key problems that an amendment must remedy in order to be effective. National Intervention, as an organization and as part of a young and sweeping movement, carries a combined set of ideas for an amendment so that each problem is authentically resolved at its root.
There are many organizations who have taken up the cause of rectifying one or some problems in the system. National Intervention seeks to combine the key insights in each. We are unable to endorse amendment language unless it fully enacts resolutions to each of these key areas.
Examples of Partial Problem-Solving
The amendment cannot cut corners if it is to be genuinely effective at creating a fair and just political arena. For example, Rep. Ted Deutch (D) from Florida has proposed an amendment that would reverse the Citizens United vs. the FEC Supreme Court ruling that allowed for unlimited and anonymous contributions to political campaigns. This abrogates the idea that money is equal to speech, but it does not eliminate the underlying assumption used by the Court in this decision, that corporations count as persons in the eyes of the law.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont, has proposed an amendment that ends corporate personhood, a key area of tremendous importance, but his amendment allows for nonprofit organizations to be formed in order to contribute money to political campaigns, which is a loophole too easily exploitable and corrupted to fulfill the entirety of the obligation of an effective 28th Amendment.
Move to Amend has assembled strong language that abolishes corporate personhood as well as money as speech. At some point there will likely be an effort to explicitly add a call for only publicly-financed elections, as well. As Interventionists, we have come to believe that citizens are entitled to author an amendment that includes an explicitly citizen-owned political process through the establishment of an inalienable Civic Right to 100% publicly financed elections.
Worthy groups and individuals, like Free Speech for People, Public Citizen, Get Money Out and other organizations, academics and officials have all drafted their ideas, as well.
The Congressional Sobriety Test and The National Intervention Report Cards
In the coming months, Naitonal Intervention will be developing and launching a unique Report Card for both proposed amendments created by others, as well as for elected officials asked to support amendment language endorsed by National Intervention. This is called the “Deep Democracy Tracker.” Along with the Deep Democracy Tracker, National Intervention will be sharing the results of every Congressperson’s Sobriety Test after each has been invited to take the Sobriety Checkpoint to commit to the Cold Turkey Amendment in time. (If you have not yet tested your elected officials, please do so now here).
Model Language Supported by National Intervention
(Special thanks to nonpartisan groups Move to Amend, Free Speech for People, and Root Strikers for contributing competing ideas for the best outcome to this language).
Section 1 [A corporation is not a person, but is property, and can be regulated]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2 [Money, goods and services are not "speech"]
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money, goods or services to influence elections or the political process to be speech under the First Amendment.
Section 3 [Establishment of the inalienable civic right to only publicly financed elections]
Federal, State and local government shall maximize protection from corruption of the democratic process with the guarantee of an unabridged and inalienable Civic Right to only publicly financed, citizen-owned elections, wherein no political or electoral process in influenced by money or moneyed interests. Each enfranchised citizen throughout the entire Republic shall enjoy this right as inalienable. No branch or aspect of government at any level will infringe upon this right.
Federal, State and local government shall prohibit expenditures and contributions in the form of money, goods, services and/or any in-kind contribution whatsoever, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures in any form whatsoever, for the purpose of influencing in any way any ballot measure or the election of any candidate for public office.
The judiciary shall not, nor shall any level of the People’s government within the Republic, construe the spending of money, goods or services to influence the electorate or elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
Section 4 [Maintaining Freedom of the Press]
Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
If It Fails…