S.J. Res. 33 (112th Congress)
Introduced by Sen. B. Sanders (I-VT)
H.J Res. 90 (112th Congress)
Introduced by Rep. T. Deutch (D-FL)
Legal Personhood: D-
Money as Speech: C-
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.
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.
Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.
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.
The Sanders-Deutch proposal doesn’t define the term “natural persons.” It’s a small risk but as technology and biotechnology advance rapidly, it’s a good idea to be mindful of how future generations might define “natural” personhood. The overt omission of unions renders this approach partisan. The illogical omission of non-profit corporations and any other artificial entities created by law renders this proposal impotent.
Constitutional amendments are not designed to be consistent with the current powers of congress (like the power to disenfranchise women and blacks) or there would be no need for an amendment. The separate press exception allows any enterprise with a PR department to create a “press” division and continue on its merry way as propagandists. It’s unnecessary and self-defeating.
The campaign finance reform section seems pretty solid, but for the omission of issue advocacy, which is just as important, if not more so, in many elections and ballot initiatives. The Sanders-Deutch proposal is doomed from the outset by its structural flaws—the omission of non-profits and the blatantly partisan carve-out for unions.