Public Comment

MIC CHECK?!?! State Run Political Campaigns?

By Thomas Lord
Tuesday January 10, 2012 - 09:40:00 AM

Imagine opening up your copy of the Constitution one day and finding these words:

Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

On January 7th, Occupy Berkeley's ruling authority, its General Assembly, somehow came to endorse an upcoming protest called "Occupy the Courts". The protest is in response to the Citizens United decision which overturned federal limits on independent electioneering expenditures by corporations. 

On January 20th, the Occupy the Courts organizers hope to "occupy" federal courthouses around the country. 

Occupy Berkeley did not invent or plan this particular protest, they merely seem to endorse it, for some reason. The action at courthouses was masterminded by an organization calling itself Move to Amend

According to their website, Move to Amend calls for a constitutional amendment that would give federal, state, and local governments authority to regulate, limit, or even prohibit any and all campaign contributions and expenditures. The amendment text above is part of their proposal. 

While these powers are common features in repressive regimes around the world, here in the U.S. the Citizens United decision has only added to the many ways in which government cannot suppress political activity. Move to Amend's proposed amendment apparently wants to close that gap and ensure that elected officials can fully control campaign spending. 

Move to Amend is funded and backed by the Liberty Tree Foundation, a Wisconsin-based not-for-profit organization that, with no apparent ironic intent, describes itself as "building a foundation for a democratic revolution." 

The Liberty Tree Foundation was chartered in 2004. Their website cites no legislative or legal victories among their accomplishments but they have built a network of regional affiliates. They accept monetary donations at their web sites.