55 Vermont towns affirm: 'Corporations are not people'
With some results still yet to come in, reports confirm that at least 55 towns in Vermont approved municipal resolutions calling for an end to big money's dominance in US politics.They are calling for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court's 'Citizens United' decision that has opened the floodgates for secretive, unlimited campaign spending in US elections.
“The people of Vermont and across America are totally disgusted with the huge amounts of money that billionaires and corporations are throwing into the political process,” US Senator Bernie Sanders said today. “We have to overturn this disastrous Citizens United decision. I hope the message coming out of the town meetings will spark a grassroots movement across the United States.”
The initiatives called on the Vermont Legislature and the state's congressional delegation to support a constitutional amendment that clarifies that 'money is not speech and corporations are not people.' Such an amendment would make it possible for Congress to limit election-related expenditures by for-profit corporations, nonprofits, unions and individuals.
“Vermonters are taking a lead in the growing movement for a constitutional amendment to limit the influence of big money and corporations in our democracy,” said Aquene Freechild, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign.
Public Citizen – along with Move to Amend/Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Vermont Peace and Justice Center, VPIRG, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Rural Vermont, Common Cause Vermont, Occupy Burlington, Vermonters Say Corporations Are Not People, Vermont Action for Peace, Vermont Workers Center, and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) – worked with Vermont activists to collect signatures and get the resolutions on town meeting agendas.
Late last year, Sanders introduced the Saving American Democracy Amendment. His proposal would restore the power of Congress and state lawmakers to enact campaign spending limits like laws that were in place for a century before the controversial court ruling.