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A letter (template) calling for a resolution in support of a Constitutional Convention to take money out of politics

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Please feel free to reproduce and send to your elected officials. Please review the number and titles for state representatives: I have used my home state of Virginia, but not all states have bicameral legislatures and they are not all called by the same titles. If your home state happens to be Vermont, congratulations: your homework is completed. Enjoy the afternoon.

Dear (insert name),

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s grievously unfortunate decisions in the cases of Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and  McCutcheon v. FEC (2014), the political system of this Republic is in grave danger of being converted into the tool of an unelected oligarchy and unaccountable corporate interests.

The Supreme Court argues that the flooding political races with hundreds of millions of dollars from undisclosed sources during every election is not only perfectly safe, but “contributes to the vitality of our democracy”, to paraphrase Chief Justice Stephens. That is as false as saying that flooding college athletics with hundreds of millions of dollars every season has made the players better scholars and their universities better institutions. It has created bloated sports programs, corrupted school officials and skewed academic value systems in favor of athletic, rather than scholastic performance. The exact same results are not only to be expected in our political system, but are easily observable.

When corporations spend millions to influence elections and buy politicians, they are indirectly disenfranchising the remaining 99% of the US electorate that is not wealthy enough to purchase similar influence. They are directly disenfranchising their shareholders, who have no say in which candidates are supported and which are opposed; nor even if the money would not be better spent prospecting for oil or building a better light bulb.

Our Constitution begins with three simple words: “We the People…” You can search through that sublime charter and all of its amendments and you will not find the words “corporation” or “company” mentioned a single time. It is therefore time to eliminate corporate personhood from political consideration and allow it to be regulated by Congress directly, as well as to permit full regulation of federal campaign finance by Congress without Supreme Court interference.

In 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT) proposed a constitutional amendment that would clearly define and limit Constitutional rights to natural persons. Senator Sanders’ proposed Saving American Democracy amendment states:

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

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 freedom of the press.

SECTION 3. 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.

SECTION 4. 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 Senator’s home state of Vermont has now become the first state in the Union to call for a Constitutional Convention on this issue.

I ask you to petition the (insert state) (insert legislative body) to join our sister state of Vermont and become the second petitioner for a Constitutional Convention.

I am copies of this correspondence to my US Senators, (insert name) and (insert name); to my US Representative, (insert name); to the Governor of (insert state), (insert name); and to my state representatives, Senator (insert name) and Delegate (insert name). I hope that you may coordinate with these honorable officials to pass this important measure for the future of our nation.

Respectfully Yours,

(Insert your name)

Registered Voter in (insert county) County, (insert state) (insert zip code)

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