Harry Reid Sends Republicans Reeling By Proposing a Koch Killing Constitutional Amendment

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Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that Democrats are about mount an effort to amend the constitution to get the Koch brothers and other billionaires out of our politics.

Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) asked the big question, “Let me pose a question to everyone, including my friend the Republican Leader. If this unprecedented spending is free speech, where does that leave our middle-class constituents? The poor? It leaves them out in the cold. How could everyday working families afford to make their voices heard if money equals free speech?”

After describing how the Koch brothers are trying to reshape the Republican Party, and buy democracy, Reid said:

Elections in the United States should be decided by voters, Americans who have a constitutional, fundamental right to elect their representatives. Yet, more and more we see non-voters, like Koch Industries and Americans for Prosperity, dictating the results of primaries and elections across the country. Behind these non-voting organizations are the massively wealthy men and women, hoping for a big monetary return on their political donations. When the candidates they bankroll get into office, the winners inevitably begin to legislate their sponsors’ business plans – less regulation and less oversight for corporations. Let me state this plainly for all to hear: No one should be able to pump unlimited funds into political campaigns, whether they are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent.

As one political observer noted, we currently have a campaign finance system in place which compels each party to pick which billionaires they like best. That is exactly why the system needs to change. There’s no question the Koch brothers are in a category of their own, in both degree and kind. No one else is pumping as much money into shadowy campaigns to promote issues that make themselves richer. No other individuals are recreating the role of a national political party. I understand that some people may disagree with my assessment. So I say: why not level the playing field for everyone? Let’s get this money out of our political system. Let’s undo the damage done by the Citizens United decision. Let’s do it now.

The Supreme Court has equated money with speech, so the more money you have the more speech you get, and the more influence in our democracy. That is wrong. Every American should have the same ability to influence our political system. One American, one vote. That’s what the Constitution guarantees. The Constitution does not give corporations a vote. And the Constitution does not give dollar bills a vote. From what I’ve heard recently, my Republican colleagues seem to have a different view. Republicans seem to think that billionaires, corporations and special interests should be allowed to drown out the voices of Americans. That is wrong and it has to end.

I oppose the notion that a big bank account should give billionaires, corporations or special interest groups a greater place in government than American voters. That is why I support the constitutional amendment proposed by two Senate Democrats, Senators Tom Udall and Michael Bennet, that curbs unlimited campaign spending. This amendment grants Congress the authority to regulate and limit the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to this modern day cry of one person, one vote by hysterically arguing that Democrats are out to destroy the First Amendment, “Proposing to take away this fundamental right from the American people and vest it in the federal government instead is the ultimate act of radicalism, and it should concern all Americans who care about their right to speak their minds and to participate freely in the political process. Washington Democrats have shown again and again how determined they are to shut down the voices of anyone who disagrees with them, whether it’s targeting groups through the IRS or looking over the shoulders of reporters at local newspapers and on news radio. But this latest proposal goes beyond everything they’ve attempted previously. No politician from either party is above the Constitution, and this crass attempt by Democrats to shut down any opposition to their plans should be rejected swiftly and decisively by everyone in this country who prizes the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

The First Amendment does not give mega rich billionaires like the Koch brothers more free speech than other Americans. The problem with the Republican argument that money is speech is that it ignores all reality. Money is not speech. Money is money. The Koch brothers aren’t buying free speech. They are attempting to buy control over the democratic process.

Sen. Reid was correct. The playing field is not level. It isn’t a coincidence that as the floodgates have opened on unlimited contributions, Republicans in Congress have increasingly ignored the will of the people. Money is no longer just buying access. Those Koch dollars are elected representatives of the people.

Passing a new campaign finance law will not be enough. The Koch owned Supreme Court majority will find any law that regulates campaign contributions to be unconstitutional. The only way to be sure that the Koch brothers are removed from our elections is to amend the constitution.

Republicans are banking everything on the Koch brothers and their money. Republicans are scared, because if the people ever catch on, the Koch brothers will be gone.

31 Replies to “Harry Reid Sends Republicans Reeling By Proposing a Koch Killing Constitutional Amendment”

  1. Not a big fan of Harry but I back him on this. This is why most young people don’t want to vote. They say why bother because their vote won’t matter.

  2. Without Koch money and lies, GOPT has got nothing. Take money out of politics, the GOPT is a nonentity.

  3. This needs to get done now! We cannot survive as an oligarchy. The Kochs Adelsons Soros’ are no more equal than the poorest voter. We all need to get behind this and push hard before we lose this country and our environment and labor laws!

  4. Understood, Rachel. However, if they DON’T vote, they validate the self-fulfilling prophecy that they are indeed voiceless, powerless, and meaningless.

    If one does not vote, one has no right to complain or demand change. Democracy is not a spectator sport, or something that happens only once every 2 or 4 years. You have to be in it to win it.

  5. Money and corporations do not have free speech is true.
    However, letting them limit the donations is a step. Not a good one because if we ever get a gop house or senate they will raise the limits to bazillions of dollars.

    The money must go.

  6. @melissa, your post is somewhat true but tell EVERYBODY when George Soros created a democratic Think Tank to push democrats propaganda? tell EVERYBODY when George Soros shelled out 17 MILLION plus to buy politicians to destroy any safety net for struggling americans??????? tell EVERYBODY when did George Soros start crying to the Washington Times that “WE RICH PEOPLE” are get demonized! and we don’t like it!! tell EVERYBODY how George Soros got CITIZENS UNITED started??? tell EVERYBODY how George Soros hands out scripts to his “RENT A POLITICIAN” to say what agenda he’s pushing?? tell EVERYBODY how George Soros RAPED VA. and polluted the water so badly the fish got up and left? lol get my point @melissa??

  7. In your dread of dictators you established a state of society in which every ward boss is a dictator, every private employer a dictator, every financier a dictator, all with the livelihood of the workers at his mercy, and no public responsibility. George Bernard Shaw
    Think about it

  8. As Americans, especially middle-class and the poor-class we should make sure our Government reps go all out for this. We cannot allow the Koch Brothers and their rich pals think America is for sale. The last decision from the Supreme Court concerning this, just shows they are not as supreme as they think they are. I just can’t figure out what the billionaires are afraid of from the Democrats. Do they think, unless they get their flunkies in there, they will have to pay more taxes. I guaranteed you the taxes they think they will have to pay, won’t even come close to what they pay put attempting top rig elections. Somebody has to come up with a solution in reminding the politicians, that even the lower class citizens have just as much rights as the filthy rich. Besides what would they do with America, but destroy it.

  9. So which section of the 1st Amendment addresses the Founding Fathers’ belief that political elections, legislators’ causes, and public policy should be determined by individuals and groups with the deepest pockets?

  10. Just think of all the good they could have done with all that money, but instead are blinded by their greed and power. A law should also be passed that laws can not be written by special interest groups like ALEC and religious right.

  11. Oh he is definitely serious it’s just that he doesn’t control all the votes in Congress. That’s our failure as the electorate.

  12. We no longer have a democracy – we have an oligarchy.

    Get into Ben Cohen’s website: stampstampede.org to see his plan of involving us, the electorate in overturning Citizens United & McCutcheon. He shows us how and where to legally stamp our paper money.

    Ben Cohen is a co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Ben shows us the part we could play to get rid of big money plague in politics and out of our democracy.

    We must act now, before it’s too late and the USA is doomed forever!

  13. Dirty Harry would try to make everyone think that the Democrats don’t have their own sources of big money. So where does the common man get the money to go to those $$$ a plate fund raisers?

  14. It takes money to make money, and the Koch brothers know that if they win, by purchasing elected republicans, purchasing elections, purchasing Government, they will make and have enough money to owned this country. The invested money in lobbyists and elections will be nothing compared to the gains in the end, They and their like, the chosen few, will own this country, will rule this country and the people in it, and they feel it is their righ., Right by might, might equals money and the Koch brothers with their mighty money chest rule a country. If you vote republican then you literally vote yourself a collar, leash, and muzzle. Truth.

  15. We need Reid’s bill for more than the Kochs. What happens when foreign interests buy their way into our government? Terrorists and enemies can now buy our country rather than terrorize it. And we call this democracy!!

  16. Non-cynical answer: we aren’t. We’re a republic with democratically elected representatives.
    Cynical answer: we aren’t. We’re an oligarchy posing as a democratic republic.

  17. No, he’s not serious, he’s grandstanding. Money is most certainly an issue, and it most certainly needs to be ridden from our political system in the form of donations….the reason he isn’t serious is because he’s just as bankrolled as anyone he can accuse on the right. This make him APPEAR good, APPEAR well intentioned, but truth is he knows it won’t pass and he’ll keep taking donations the whole time, being just as influenced by it as those on the right. Pure hypocrisy.

  18. join represent.us it’s a real grass roots movement. It’s for the people and by the people. Again if you want to make a change join REPRESENT.US

  19. It should be noted that a group called WolfPAC has already begun the process towards making the constitutional amendment a reality. The group’s only motive is the removal of money from the democratic process. They have engaged politicians at the state level and already have states in New England and scattered elsewhere ready to vote to kill Citizens United and similar mistakes. It is a non-profit, though, but I believe a very worthy cause for a donation. Once enough states are on board, a vote on the amendment can be achieved. This is an absolutely necessary change that CAN be accomplished.

  20. Corporations already have a special status under the law … it’s what’s called a legal fiction … let’s say koch industries develops and sells a product and 5 years later, we find out that’s what killed all the children under the age of 10 … koch industries files bankruptcy and the koch brothers and the shareholders of koch industries cannot be sued because the corporation created the bad widget … this was implemented generations ago so that the titans who fuel industry aren’t wiped out because of some minor hiccup [guess whose idea that was] … Corporations voting is a problem? No, Corporate over reach is the problem and it can EASILY be fixed by eliminating the legal fiction … think about that koch industries

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