We have to fight for campaign finance reform, again. Big money has taken over on both sides of the political spectrum: transnational corporations, individual billionaires, big labor unions. Both sides of the political spectrum are obsessed with building big money political action committees and other associations to collect big bucks to spend on election campaigns and issue advertising. Elected officials these days spend more of their time fundraising than they do on our public business.
Unfortunately, our Wisconsin Assembly voted two weeks ago against Assembly Joint Resolution 50, an advisory referendum on the U.S. Supreme Court's bad Citizens United decision. AJR 50 was a resolution that would reduce the influence of big money on politics. A similar resolution was just introduced in the Wisconsin Senate. We will see how it fares there.
One topical area that has not received much attention yet is the fact that foreign citizens and nations are using the Citizens United decision to pour money into influencing ourU.S. elections. Keep an eye out in the news for reports about this new outside influence.
What can we do? According to The Capital Times (2/12/14), "Wisconsin's Money Out, Voters In coalition recently submitted close to 25,000 signatures on petitions calling for Wisconsin to join 16 other states in calling on Congress to approve a constitutional amendment that would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC -- which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to buy elections -- and restore the right of citizens and their elected representatives to regulate the influence of money in politics./ United Wisconsin and the dozens of other groups in the Money Out, Voters In coalition want the Legislature to place a statewide advisory referendum on the November 2014 general election ballot. [State Representative] Taylor and state Sen. David Hansen...have submitted legislation to do just that." The Capital Times, 2/12/14)
What can we little guys do about this? One thing you and I can do is VOTE YES on the two referendums that will appear on the local Windsor, DeForest, and Waunakee ballots at this April's elections. The referendums ask our village and town boards to ask our United States Congressional representatives to support Constitutional amendments that declare that corporations are not the same as human beings and that spending money to influence elections is not the same as the free speech guaranteed us human beings in our Bill of Rights. Those Constitutional amendments will return to us citizens and taxpayers the right to regulate big money in politics. It will give us back our right to campaign finance reform.
VOTE YES on the referendums. Do your bit to lessen the influence of big money on politics. On March 12th, there will be a forum at the DeForest Library on this topic. The main guest speaker will be Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Look for the announcement in the Times-Tribune's Community Calendar under DeForest Area Progressives.