It’s clear from reading Doug Livingston’s May 22 article on congressional candidate responses to growing public concerns about the corrupting influence of money in politics why change is so difficult:
• Candidates don’t want to criticize too harshly the current system and sources of major campaign contributions.
• Candidates are not at all unified on how to respond to what many citizens believe is a system of pay-to-play, “legalized bribery” benefiting rich and corporate entity contributors
Candidates genuinely committed to change have, no doubt, found incremental reforms frustrating.
More than a law or regulation is needed. A big problem requires a big solution — a constitutional amendment targeting the root cause of political money defined as free speech, dating back to the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo Supreme Court decision.
If money is speech, then those with the most money drown out the voices of the majority of people. It’s no wonder people feel government has been hijacked.
House Joint Resolution 48, the We the People Amendment, calls for ending money defined as free speech. This would allow for fundamental limits on political contributions and expenditures. The bill also would establish that the rights protected by our Constitution are the rights of natural persons only, not corporate entities.
For congressional candidates perplexed about what to do to reduce the influence of money in politics, they can join U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur and others in Congress and endorse the proposed constitutional amendment.
Director, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee