Plumas County’s Board of Supervisors said that big corporations in this country have way too much political clout.
And they unanimously passed a resolution to emphasize the point.
During their May 15 meeting the supervisors voted to adopt a resolution rejecting a 2010 United States Supreme Court decision. The resolution called for the state’s federal representative to push for a constitutional amendment.
The landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.
Since that ruling, scores of citizen initiatives and municipal government resolutions have been adopted calling for a constitutional amendment.
The argument is that the Supreme Court’s decision states that corporations are people, and have the same constitutional rights as people. As a result, corporations can use their money to buy political influence that most citizens can’t afford.
“The effects of the Citizens United (ruling) are devastating to our democracy,” county resident Mark Mihevc said. “Corporations and the wealthy give millions and millions and millions of dollars to buy politicians who will do their bidding, and have nothing to do with the needs of our county and 310 million Americans.”
The board’s largely symbolic decision to adopt the resolution drew loud applause from resolution supporters in the audience.
“I think everybody in this nation is pretty fed up with federal (and) state representatives who get in office and start campaigning non-stop for their next election,” Supervisor Lori Simpson said. “They need to get down to business. And corporations need to take that money and create jobs in the USA.
“So I make a motion to approve (the) resolution,” she said.
As the crowd applauded, Supervisor Terry Swofford seconded the motion. All five supervisors voted approval in a roll-call vote.
“I absolutely, 100-percent support what you are trying to do with this,” Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said. “When I saw the Supreme Court’s decision I was astounded, knowing the impact it would have on elections.”
Before the vote, county residents Marsha Roby, Trish Taylor and Mihevc gave passionate arguments for amending the U.S. Constitution.
“People say an amendment to the Constitution is never going to happen. They say it’s a hard process and it’s just impossible,” Taylor said. “But there have been amendments to the Constitution that had to do with the right to vote and democracy at a really primary level. ... It took 150 years (before an amendment) for women to get the right to vote.”
Roby said 172 similar resolutions have been passed across the country since the 2010 ruling. She said the grassroots movement is necessary to show the federal government that changes have to be made soon.
“We are seeing the detrimental impacts of the Citizens United ruling every day,” Roby said. “With the emergence of Super PACs (wealthy political action committees), corporations and wealthy individuals are buying the allegiance of legislators and presidential candidates, influencing elections and drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens like you and me.
“They have been using their new buying power to crush the union movements, eliminate wage protections, privatize everything from schools to Social Security, etc.
“They are dynamiting the underpinnings of the middle class,” Roby said. “And taking away the public tools that ordinary people must have to do the extraordinary things that truly make America great.”
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