Citizens United Against the Supreme Court

Dear Visitor,

The recent Citizens United v. FEC ruling by the US Supreme Court, which holds that First Amendment protections apply not just to individual speakers but also to corporations, is only the latest in a decades-long series of decisions by the Court that have expanded the scope of the First Amendment into realms never imagined by our Founding Founders. 

According to the Roberts Court, when our Founders wrote “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of the speech,” what they really meant was “Congressional representation shall be sold to the highest bidder.”

Beginning with Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, the Justices have embraced the concept that money is equal to speech, and that therefore any limitation on campaign spending violates the First Amendment.  Citizens United v. FEC simply expands this protection to cover corporations, which are by definition aggregators of money.  So now corporate money will completely overwhelm individual money in the arena of political speech, and Madison’s conception of our government as a forum for the broadest possible public deliberation of issues has been rendered legally moot.

What are the People to do?

The 28th Amendment proposed here (click the Amendment tab for the full text) would limit the total amount of money that candidates can raise and spend in general election campaigns for the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency.  It requires the 50 state legislatures and the Congress to establish a fixed budget for each Federal general election, and to partially fund these elections with general tax revenue. 

The Amendment provides a formula for distributing public campaign funds to qualifying candidates, and strictly limits the amount of private contributions that candidates may raise to augment their share of publicly allocated funds.  General election campaigns are limited to seventy (70) days' duration.  During this period no individual, organization or committee, other than the candidates' personally authorized General Election Campaign Committees, may sponsor mass media advertising that names, pictures or conveys the identity of any candidate running in the election.  

In the past numerous proposals have been made, and initiatives launched, to reform our system of financing election campaigns.  None have worked.  To learn more about what has gone wrong in the past, and what the advantages of my 28th Amendment are over other amendment proposals, click the Solution tab above.

If you would like to support my proposed 28th Amendment, in lieu of signing a petition I invite you to visit (fourth campaign from the top) and to make a good faith promise to NOT vote for any candidate for Federal office who doesn’t support enactment of the 28th Amendment.  This promise, called a “No” Vote Pledge (NVP), is a far more effective tool than a traditional petition, and is the key to the emergence of Open Source Democracy.

For more information about how and why NVP campaigns work, click the Pledge tab above, or visit the info links at the IOParty Web site, or if you’re really feeling ambitious, read my essay Open Source Democracy 2.0.

Neal Rechtman
Ossining, NY

February 2010

NOTE: This Web site is not allied with, related to, or supported by any organization, committee or political party.  I am not trying to raise money for this or any other cause. If you want to support this effort monetarily, buy my book—which supports me.