Darlington, WI (May 19, 2020) – On Tuesday, May 19th, the Lafayette Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for a resolution that supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would overturn the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, so that limits could be placed on the vast amount of money in our political system. The amendment would clarify that only human beings should have inalienable human rights and money is not the same thing as free speech.
Lafayette County joins with 163 other Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, almost 3.2 million people (56% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 20 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 820 towns, villages, cities and counties.
“We cannot solve any of the pressing issues in front of our country as long as our politicians do not represent us, and they won’t until we get the big money out of politics,” said Darlington resident Nancy Fisker.
Multiple polls show over 90% of Americans, regardless of party, think special interest money has too much influence in American political campaigns. Numerous polls show that Money in Politics is a top issue for voters.
One volunteer, Bill Holland of Monroe, expressed frustration: “Citizens in 164 Wisconsin communities have passed resolutions calling for an amendment. We need state legislators to put it on a statewide ballot, but they won’t even let the bills have a public hearing!”
Resolutions calling for a statewide vote on Citizens United have been introduced into the state legislature (AJR 11 / SJR 9). The referendum would ask voters if they support allowing individuals and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.
Former State Senator Dale Schultz summed it up well. “We’re talking about billionaires turning this country into a Russian-style oligarchy, where there are two dozen billionaires who buy the whole political process… we are awash in money because of Citizens United, and it puts good people in both parties in a difficult situation.”
The roots of the problem run deeper than Citizens United. Over a century ago Robert M. La Follette spoke out against corruption wrought by the “concessions and privileges” given to corporations by legislators. “Why,” he asked, “in a government where the people are sovereign, why are these things tolerated?”
Four in five Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, according to a Bloomberg poll. A New York Times/CBS poll found that 85 percent of Americans—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—believe we need fundamental changes to our campaign finance system or to completely rebuild it.
Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”