It was introduced in the House Judiciary Committee by Florida’s congressman Ted Deutch. I can not stress enough how vital this is for all of us in this nation. We must un-do the terrible harm the U.S. Supreme Court decision “Citizens United vs. FEC” has caused. This is do-or-die. The current malaise in Washington is a direct result of that decision.
H.J Res. 90 reads as follows:
Section I. – Corporations are not people.
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.
Explanation: Section I of the OCCUPIED Amendment makes clear that corporations, and entities established to promote the business interests of their member corporations, are not people with inalienable rights enshrined in our Constitution. This section overturns the incorrect assertion in the Supreme Court decision Citizens United that corporations have free speech rights protected by the Constitution and are therefore able to spend unlimited corporate profits in our elections. Section I also denies corporations and other entities established for business purposes the right to claim that worker protections, environmental regulations, and other laws written by the people violate their court-awarded constitutional rights.
Section II. – Corporations can be regulated by people.
Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.
Explanation: Section II simply states that corporations are established in accordance with the laws of the people and they are therefore subject to laws written by the people. Corporations cannot claim they have constitutional protections from laws written by the people to limit pollution, ensure the fair treatment of workers, and safeguard the public.
Section III. – Corporate prohibition in elections.
Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or upon any ballot measure submitted to a vote of the people.
Explanation: Section III prohibits business corporations and business associations from using their profits to participate in our elections, whether it is through direct expenditures from their general treasuries or through funding third party groups that air attack ads, influence voters, or electioneer communications. This section slams shut the door opened by Citizens United that enabled our elections to be flooded by corporate campaign spending.
Section IV. – Regulation of all electioneering, contributions, and expenditures by individuals and other entities.
Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.
Explanation: Section IV strikes back against the argument made in Citizens United that caps on electoral spending and expenditures are unconstitutional. By reaffirming the right of Congress and the States to establish campaign finance laws that require public disclosure, corporations will no longer be able to anonymously funnel cash to third party groups for the purpose of funding malicious attack ads, smear campaigns, and companion Super PACS. Section IV also allows Congress to set limits and require disclosure for any and all political contributions and expenditures by individuals and other private entities. This section allows Congress to end the practice of a few billionaires spending unlimited funds to promote their personal political agendas.