Voters May Get A Say On Whether Corporations Are People

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January 16, 2013

Anjuli Kronheim: 484-213-4811

Voters may get a say on whether Corporations are People

Ballot Question Proposed on the May 2013 Los Angeles Ballot

Los Angeles, CA-LA City Council has responded to the barrage of campaign advertising in the most expensive Presidential election in history by asking the city attorney to draft an initiative on the May 2013 citywide ballot to instruct LA’s elected officials to pass a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and eliminate artificial corporate constitutional rights created by the courts.

Councilmember Richard Alarcon introduced the motion to put this on the May 2013 Citywide ballot with support from Councilmembers Rosendahl and Koretz, and California Common Cause and CALPIRG. Common Cause, the State PIRGs and many other organizations worked to pass similar measures in the November 2012 general election in Colorado and Montana and cities like San Francisco and Chicago. All the ballot measures passed with a margin of at least three-to-one.

“Corporations are not people, and should not be allowed to spend unlimited dollars to support candidates and influence political campaigns,” said Councilmember Alarcon. “This ballot initiative gives the residents of Los Angeles the opportunity to send a loud message to the President, Congress and our Federal elected officials that the people of Los Angeles want constitutional reform and support overturning the egregious Citizens United decision.”

“Today’s action demonstrates that the Los Angeles City Council understands the seriousness of this issue and is willing to let voters speak out about it directly,” said Derek Cressman, Director of the Campaign to Overturn Citizens United with Common Cause. “Voter instruction ballot measures have historically played a very significant role in bringing about constitutional amendments,” he added.

“Everywhere that citizens have had the opportunity to weigh-in they have voted overwhelmingly to close the floodgates of unlimited contributions,” said Austin Price, Field Director CALPIRG. It is great that City Council is working to give the citizens of Los Angeles the same opportunity to speak directly about the need to reclaim our democracy.”

Unlimited corporate funds and SuperPACs are already impacting the 2013 Mayoral and City council races to the tune of $3.5 million fundraising goals according to the LA Times. This spending will make other candidates spend more time fundraising instead of time connecting with constituents.

“Unlimited corporate, money continues to undermine the principle of ‘one person, one vote,'” said Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause. “The sheer number of Los Angeles voters who could vote on this issue – more than in the entire 2012 Election – would really boost the national movement to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn this damaging Supreme Court case.”

California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring an open, honest, and accountable government, also working to strengthen public participation and ensuring that political processes serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.