Sedona Amendment No. 2: MONEY OUT of Politics
In In twenty workshops held to date in Sedona, Arizona, approximately 450 older, wealthier, white residents, fairly balanced by gender and political inclination, drafted the following constitutional amendment, and over 75% overwhelmingly agreed it would make the BIGGEST difference in upgrading and strengthening—and restoring their trust and confidence in—the American democratic process.
That’s when they decided we needed a constitutional amendment that required complete honesty in matters of public policy–and moved it to the top of the list–#
This is the second (previously the first) of their three proposals and is known as
Please review the following, provide your questions and constructive suggestions, and vote on the proposal. Results will be posted online. Thank you!!
Sedona Amendment No. 1 MONEY
- WHEREAS, democracies fail when they lose the trust and confidence of the people, and
- WHEREAS, trust and confidence in the American democratic process is now at or near an all-time low, and
- WHEREAS, America now ranks 25st in the world in terms of actually being democratic[i], and of the Americans polled: [ii]
- Almost 9 out of 10 Americans polled believe elected officials are mostly influenced by their campaign contributors (86%)
- Almost 9 out of 10 Americans polled believe campaign financing requires fundamental changes or a complete rebuild (85%)
- Over 8 out of 10 Americans believe money has too much influence in political campaigns (84%)
- WHEREAS, in a modern, true democracy, the people have the right to amend their constitution when they believe their elected representatives are not adequately addressing key concerns, and
- WHEREAS, in a modern, true democracy every person shall have an equal and fair opportunity to participate, and be heard, in decisions affecting the community, and
- WHEREAS, allowing a person to use private resources to influence an election or public policy provides that person with a greater opportunity to participate and be heard than the person who cannot, or will not, contribute a like amount of private resources—and is therefore undemocratic and unconstitutional
- WHEREAS, in the federal 2012 elections, only 4/10ths of 1% of Americans provided almost two-thirds of all money in the campaigns—and elected policymakers know who they are
- WHEREAS, the average cost of replacing all private financing, and removing the influence of money on all federal public elections, is approximately $8.10 per person per year (based on 2016 spending)[iii]
- WHEREAS, Over one-quarter (26%) of all amendments to date (7 of 27) were passed to overturn or clarify a decision of the Supreme Court[iv]
- WHEREAS, the people are perfectly capable of creating a fair, honest, and equal system of financing public election campaigns solely from the public treasury,
THEREFORE, the people of the state of ____________ hereby approve the following amendment to their state constitution as well as the U.S. Constitution
The people shall have the right to a political process free from the influence of private wealth—and all resources used in an election, or provided to a public servant while in office, shall be provided solely, fairly, and equally by the public treasury subject to strict ethical guidelines and timetables.
The Intention of the Drafters
To support those needing to interpret this provision in the future, it is the intention of the drafters that
- Inconsistent Rulings: This provision shall prevail over any inconsistent statutes, rulings, or interpretations, including the Citizen’s United case
- Freedom of Speech 1: Providing private resources to support or assist a political campaign or public decision-making shall no longer be considered a protected free speech or free press right under the constitution.
- Freedom of Speech 2: Every jurisdiction conducting a public election or decision-making shall provide everyone with an equally available and easily searchable place to exercise the First Amendment right to communicate in writing their opinion and/or endorsement of a candidate or political preference
- Sanctions: Any elected representative or candidate receiving resources in violation of this section shall permanently forfeit their government employment and have their name permanently removed from any ballot. Any person contributing resources in violation of this provision shall be fined no less than $100,000 per occurrence or 100 times the value of the contribution, whichever is greater.
- Enforcement: Any person may bring an action in federal court to enforce this provision and, if successful, shall be entitled to reimbursement for all costs, expenses, fees, effort and time incurred in enforcing this constitutional right.
[iv] Constitutional Amendments Redirecting Opinions of the Supreme Court
- 11th Amendment in 1794 granting sovereign immunity to states (response to Chisholm v. Georgia, 1793)
- 13th Amendment in 1865 abolishing slavery (response to Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857)
- 14th Amendment in 1868 providing equal protection under law (response to Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857)
- 16th Amendment in 1913 allowing Congress to levy income tax (response to Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust Co, 1895)
- 19th Amendment in 1920 guaranteeing women the right to vote (response to Minor v. Happersett, 1875)
- 24th Amendment in 1964 prohibiting poll taxes (response to Breedlove v.Suttles, 1937)
- 26th Amendment in 1971 lowering the voting age to 18 (response to Oregon v. Mitchell, 1970)