Guest Contributor

Occupy Wall Street: Crafting A Constitutional Amendment To Stop The 1%

This is a guest post on Citizens United by Greg Colvin, who is a partner at the firm Adler & Colvin. It was originally published on OurFuture.org.

We've seen the signs and heard the chants: "Abolish Corporate Personhood!"

I'm very sympathetic to the cause of reducing the power of big business corporations to control our government, our economy, our consumer culture, our society, and our lives. We can't have democracy without a major shift of power into the hands of the people.

But would an amendment to remove all rights of corporations from the US Constitution accomplish that? Would there be unintended consequences?

There are two problems with a constitutional amendment that abolishes corporate personhood. One, it does too much, and two, it does too little.

Rep. Cantor - Bought and Paid for by Wall Street Investors

by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) blog

The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from the CREW blog as part of our efforts to expose the influence of corporate money in politics. Eric Cantor is also an alumnus of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which the Center has been investigating through ALECexposed, and he has introduced federal legislation that parallels the ALEC agenda. CMD is also helping to raise awareness of alternatives to the Cantor/ALEC agenda to starve government and slash government services, namely how a tiny tax on Wall Street could help. Cantor's efforts to smear Occupy Wall Street protesters and his receipts from Wall Street firms are documented below.

Hiding the Sausage: How a Well-Funded Right-Wing Organization is Grinding Out State Laws

-- by Billy Manes

The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from Billy Manes at the Orlando Weekly as part of our efforts to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council. The original can be found here.

When Jeff Wright walked into the lobby of the New Orleans Marriott on Aug. 3, he wasn't sure what to expect. As the director of public policy advocacy for the Florida Education Association -- a prominent teachers' union that had been bearing the brunt of legislative attacks from Florida Republicans throughout the 2011 legislative session -- he wasn't there for your standard Mardi Gras-themed party. The American Legislative Exchange Council, a national nonprofit organization made up of elected officials and private interests who gather regularly to try to directly influence the substance of public policy, was holding its annual four-day meeting there, so any "partying" would probably be a little more conservative, and -- going by a recent glut of press coverage pointing out ALEC's clearinghouse mentality of privately linking big corporations with the state legislators willing to pursue their bottom-line agendas in the form of "model legislation" -- slightly more nefarious. Nevertheless, he wanted to see it for himself.

Publicopoly: ALEC and the Bid to Make Private All That is Public

The Center for Media and Democracy is reposting Beau Hodai's examination of the privatization schemes advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as part of CMD's effort to report on, and gather reporting about this organization through our ALECexposed.org work. This story was originally published by DBA Press (pdf) and is also available for download through this link. (pdf) You can also jump to the article's source materials directory here.

“Legislative Laundry” -- Investigative Report on the Mechanics of the ALEC Scholarship Fund

The Center for Media and Democracy is reposting Beau Hodai's investigation of so-called "scholarships" funded by corporations to bring state politicians to gatherings of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as part of CMD's effort to report on and gather reporting about this organization through our ALECexposed.org work. This story was originally published by DBA Press. You can also download this report in PDF format and you can view documents relating to ALEC scholarship fund activity here.

ALEC Activity in Wisconsin, Circa 2004

By Katya Szabados

(From CMD: This report was originally printed as the cover story in the March 2, 2004 edition of the Madison-based newspaper "The Wisconsinite," titled "Dr. No and the Spectre of ALEC." While written more than seven years ago, the story it tells about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its role in Wisconsin government is illuminating and remains relevant today.

From Bad to Worse: New JFC Version of Medicaid Power Shift Compounds the Problems

Guest post by Ken Taylor and Jon Peacock of Wisconsin Council on Children and Families

Medicaid provisions in Wisconsin's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) budget are raising constitutional issues and open meetings concerns.

The Joint Finance Committee version of the budget bill incorporates provisions from the budget repair bill (Act 10) that shift the power over Medicaid and BadgerCare policymaking from the legislature to the Department of Health Services (DHS). However, it compounds the problems created by the concentration of so much lawmaking power in the executive branch because it removes requirements that the DHS policy changes –- which would be allowed to supersede 24 parts of the statutes –- have to be made by rule. The rulemaking process would have included public hearings and an opportunity for citizen participation in the process.

Icing on the Cake for Corporations, Crumbs for Working Families

Guest post by Jon Peacock of Wisconsin Children and Families to PR Watch

win-lose cakeAs the Joint Finance Committee wrapped up its work on the biennial budget bill late last Friday night, June 3, one of the final motions that was offered was a brand new proposal for a large corporate tax break. At about 11:00 pm Friday, the Committee voted 12-4, along party lines, for that motion to create a new tax credit for corporations that produce goods in the state –- gradually reducing their state income tax by as much as 95 percent, once the $129 million per year tax break is fully phased in.

Kathleen Gallagher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote a good article on the subject earlier this week. As she reported, James Buchen, vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, called the amendment "the icing on the cake for us be able to go out and sell Wisconsin as manufacturing heaven."

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