Feb. 27 forum to address role of money in politics
LOVES PARK, Ill. — A community forum titled “Democracy is Not For Sale” will be held at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27, at North Suburban Library District, 6340 N. Second St., Loves Park, Ill.
The forum, free and open to the public, will focus on the Supreme Court’s landmark Jan. 21, 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision and the role of money in politics.
The United States Supreme Court held in Citizens United that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.
The two organizations held similar events in Rockford Jan. 19, including a local forum at the Rockford Public Library East Branch and a protest at the Stanley J. Roszkowski U.S. Courthouse.
About two dozen attended the Jan. 19 forum. Attendees learned about the history of the Citizens United decision and different ways to combat its effects. The group discussed efforts to amend the Constitution, such as Move To Amend. Move to Amend would declare that corporations are not people and money is not speech. The Anti-Corruption Act was also discussed at the forum. The legislation would seek to reverse the effects of Citizens United and establish a new clean elections system for Congress, without actually amending the Constitution.
According to the Jan. 17 report “Billion-Dollar Democracy,” a joint effort by U.S. PIRG and Demos, it took just 32 billionaires and corporations giving super PACs an average of $9.9 million apiece to match every single dollar given by small donors to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama in the 2012 election cycle. Those small donations amounted to more than $313 million from more than 3.7 million individuals.
The report provided a full and detailed analysis of all 2012 federal election spending and fund-raising by campaigns and super PACs. The data show the undue influence of large donors, business interests and secret spenders in 2012, including the following:
• Nearly 60 percent of super PAC funding came from just 159 donors contributing at least $1 million.
• Candidates for both House and Senate raised the majority of their funds from gifts of $1,000 or more; and 40 percent of all contributions to Senate candidates came from donors who gave at least $2,500. (Those donors are just 0.02 percent of the American population.)
• Corporate donations accounted for a large portion of the funds of two of the top 10 most active super PACs, including 18 percent of Restore Our Future’s total contributions and 52.6 percent of those of FreedomWorks for America.
Read “Billion-Dollar Demcracy” at http://bit.ly/Wah17c.
From the Feb. 20-26, 2013, issue
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