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Open Letter to Representative Carolyn Dykema

by Dianna Vosburg
March 28, 2016

My fellow Holliston constituents and I would like to thank you for meeting with the four of us on March 8th to discuss HB 3127, the “We the People Act” that you have co-sponsored.

Dear Representative Carolyn Dykema:

My fellow Holliston constituents and I would like to thank you for meeting with the four of us on March 8th to discuss HB 3127, the “We the People Act” that you have co-sponsored. We appreciate your open office and accessibility, and the time you spent talking with us. It is always a pleasure to meet with you, and it is an education, as well!

Thank you for giving us an update on this act and offering to talk with Speaker DeLeo again about our strong support for democratic reform. We would like to affirm our commitment to the main principles in this act, whatever the final language:

Massachusetts would call on Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating that:

  1. Only natural persons, i.e., human beings, are entitled to Constitutional protections enumerated in the Bill of Rights, as intended by the Founders.
     
  2. Congress and the states will place limits on political spending to ensure that all citizens have access to the political process. Money spent to influence elections is not the same thing as free speech under the First Amendment.

The Act further states that if Congress fails to propose such an amendment within six months, the We the People puts Massachusetts on record calling for a convention of the states for the purpose of proposing this amendment.

Voters and taxpayers are increasingly aware that the vast, and often secret, spending of big donations in political campaigns is dampening proper political representation for most people. We understand that this system of campaign finance ultimately means the underfunding and sacrifice of critical infrastructure, education, transportation, environmental protection, healthcare, and so on because our policies increasingly favor the financial interests of the very wealthy and large corporate donors. It is imperative that we separate spending from free speech, and corporations from the protections meant for living human persons. When courts grant constitutional rights to corporations, these corporations can then use the courts to successfully overturn acts of legislatures that protect the public good.

We appreciate having a champion for good government in the Legislature, and we look forward to working with you to help move this critical, anti-corruption initiative forward in Massachusetts.

I have attached some analysis of an Amendments Convention, in the unlikely event that one should come to pass, addressing fears of a so-called “Runaway Convention.”

Also, I believe that four other states have passed very similar resolutions, if you are interested in passing along judicial language for reference: Vermont, New Jersey, California, and Illinois. As an example, I have attached the text of California’s Assembly Joint Resolution No. 1 (which specifically limits the Constitutional Convention to this one purpose).

Again, thank you very much!

Sincerely,

Dianna Vosburg, Holliston

Representative Dykema's web site: http://www.carolyndykema.com/

 

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Comments (3)

Hi Gary. This isn't a ban on campaign contributions per se. It's addressing a problem with constitutional interpretation (such as Citizen's United) that gives corporations the same bill of rights protections meant for living human beings, and the also the interpretation that financial donations are protected free speech. The We the People Act seeks to allow our elected representatives in the states and in Congress to regulate campaign finance in a more fair manner. Yes, these regulations could include limits on contributions from unions and trade groups. Yes, these regulations could limit the contributions of wealthy individuals, so that regular people could have more equitable access to political process and thus attain more political representation. I'm hoping for publicly funded elections at some point so that we have publicly responsive representatives.

- Dianna Vosburg | 4/2/16 12:10 PM

In then 2012 election cycle, the Koch brothers spent $400+M, while the top 10 unions spent $153+M - we need to get the big money out of politics, especially the dirty anonymous money - we also need to promote and encourage voting, not disenfranchising voters, which is happening all across the country, especially in the Republican controlled states

- Lee DeSorgher | 3/29/16 10:00 PM

Does this bill call for a ban on all large donations from groups such as unions and trade associations? How about large donations from wealthy citizens?

- Gary D'Alessandro | 3/29/16 5:22 AM

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