Great Falls Tribune, March 7th, 2021
Well, the 2020 election season is finally in the rear-view mirror, which means an end to the hundreds of shadowy political attack ads — and thousands of requests for campaign contributions! — from every candidate running for public office.
Until the next election cycle, that is.
Which, believe it or not, is less than a year away!
As Montanans, I’m sure we’d all be thrilled to avoid a repeat performance of last year — whether we vote Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, or Libertarian.
And we Montanans know our history, too. For years, we’ve been trying to stop the torrent of money and ads flooding our political system.
It was only nine years ago, in 2012, when all 56 Montana counties passed Citizens InitiativeI-166, calling on Congress to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution, to level the playing field in campaign spending, prohibit corporate campaign contributions and expenditures, and limit political spending in elections. It expressly stated the overwhelming majority of Montanans’ belief that corporations are not human beings entitled to Constitutional rights, and that money is not equivalent to free speech.
And now, in 2021, we have a chance to double down on that crucial message; Montana House Resolution HR-3 asks our legislators to stand with Montana’s counties, and repeat our call to Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood, and finally breaking the link between free speech and unfettered campaign spending, once and for all.
And the new Congress needs to hear it loud and clear, from states like Montana that are standing ready to ratify the Amendment, once Congress passes it, too!
Montana can help lead this effort, especially since the support in our counties is so bipartisan. And, more and more across the United States. the call for such a Constitutional amendment is as bipartisan as ours has been for a decade now. Last November, several towns in Ohio and Wisconsin, largely Republican-leaning, also passed the call for the amendment, with 74-84% majorities. [Citizens Initiative I-166 polled 74.9% in favor, in 2012.]
Some Montanans even remember that their grandparents responded the same way, in 1912, when they passed their own Citizens Initiative, leading to the Montana Corrupt Practices Act. Those campaign finance laws served us really well, until the 2010 US Supreme Court gave us the horrible Citizens United decision.
What changed in those hundred years? It was the Supreme Court itself — the 1912 Court agreed with Montana voters, that we have to carve out space for our elections in order to protect them from undue influence. But, ironically, the 2010 Supreme Court itself had come under the influence of the very money and corporate interests itching to influence our elections back in 1912.
So, once again, it looks like it’s up to Montanans to lead the way, and reassert what has been obvious to all of us for so long: we need to tell the Supreme Court to protect our ability to self-govern.
Please call 406-444-4800 now, and tell the Montana House State Administration Committee — and your legislator — to vote YES on House Resolution HR-3, which calls on Congress to pass that Constitutional amendment.
You can also send a written message of support, on this or any other legislation, at https://www.leg.mt.gov/session/have-your-say/
Want to learn more about the proposed Constitutional amendment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, anytime.
Let’s all stand united once again as Montanans, and say “NO” to a repeat of the massive, awful, corporation-backed election spending of 2020.
Categories: Montana Legislature