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Most of these versions are modifications to language that has been proposed in Congress. We feel these better address the issues of importance (see the amendment language issues page) than what has been currently proposed in Congress (see amendment language versions page).

1. Our prefered version

2. A modification of MTA’s version

3. A modification of Deutch/Sanders

4. A modification of McGovern’s proposed H.J. Res. 20 & 21

 

1. Our current preferred version

Section 1. Associations, corporations, and other artificial entities may not use resources to influence government policy, directly or indirectly, except for people assembled purposely to exert such influence, or as permitted by law; permission shall not extend to influencing candidate or ballot measure elections, or contributing to entities whose purpose is influencing government policy.

Expenditures for other purposes shall not be affected by this section; entities such as media corporations may make expenditures intended to pursue profit if that profit does not depend on affecting governmental policy.

Section 2. Congress, and the legislatures of the several states, have a compelling interest in mitigating disparities of influence on government or political decisions caused by wealth or income inequality, and may take appropriate actions to guarantee the dependence of elected officials on the people alone, including the establishment of systems of public financing for elections, the imposition of requirements to ensure the disclosure of contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of a public election, and the imposition of content neutral limitations on all such contributions and expenditures.

Section 3. An individual’s aggregate contributions and expenditures to influence government or political decisions, whether direct, indirect, in kind, or monetary, may not exceed the per capita gross national product.

Section 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to enforce this Article through appropriate legislation.

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2. A modification of MTA

Section 1 [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution, and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, unless such regulations violate the rights of natural persons.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2 [Money is not free speech]

Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Artificial entities may not use resources to influence government policy, except for natural persons assembled to exert such influence, or as permitted by law; permission shall not extend to influencing candidate or ballot measure elections, or contributing to entities whose purpose is influencing government policy.

Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

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3. A modified version of Deutch/Sanders 2013 version

SECTION 1. 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 under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state for business purposes or to promote business interests.

SECTION 2. 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 people’s right of freedom of the press.

SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities, or unions using member dues, shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures, directly or indirectly, in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.

SECTION 4. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making any contributions or expenditures, directly or indirectly, to affect government policy except in compliance with regulations Congress or the states may establish.

SECTION 5. Congress, the States, and local governments shall advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all by regulating and setting limits on all contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people, and shall authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of authorized contributions and expenditures.

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4. A modified version of McGovern’s proposals

H.J. Res. 21

To advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all,

Section 1. Congress shall regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on–

(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and

(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

Section 2. States and local governments shall regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to State and local elections, including through setting limits on–

(1) the amount of contributions to

a) candidates for nomination for election to or for election to, State or local office; and

b) contributions to state or local referenda and state or local ballot initiatives; and

(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates, referenda, and ballot initiatives.

Section 3. For-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state for business purposes or to promote business interests, or unions using their member dues, shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures, directly or indirectly, in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.

SECTION 4. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making any contributions or expenditures, directly or indirectly, to affect government policy except in compliance with regulations Congress may establish.

Section 5. Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

H.J. Res. 21 (not modified)

Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2. The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are unalienable.

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