To the editor:
I am writing to thank Rep. Joe Kennedy for recently co-sponsoring a proposed U.S. Constitutional amendment called the “We the People Amendment” (H.J.Res. 48) in the House of Representatives.
This proposed amendment — if passed by Congress and ratified by the states — would overturn a series of Supreme Court rulings that have granted corporations undue power and influence over our political process and ordinary Americans.
This proposed amendment declares unequivocally that only natural born people have the protection of constitutional rights — not artificial entities such as corporations — and that money spent in elections is not protected First Amendment free speech. It would also require governments to regulate political spending to ensure equal access to the political process for all Americans.
Corporations exist to serve the public good, contribute economically and provide employment. As a result of corporate privileges granted by our laws, they are capable of amassing great wealth which opens avenues not available to most of us. Even if we banded together with everyone we know, we still would not have enough money to hire a lobbyist to forward our opinion in Washington. But corporations can and do.
Corporate lobbying is quite an industry, as a quick peak at the Center for Responsive Politics will show, and allows corporations greater access to politicians than a regular American. (www.opensecrets.org/lobby/) The Supreme Court allows yet another way for corporations to influence our government with increased spending on political campaigns. Yes, we regular people still have the right to vote, but healthy corporate balance sheets allow both lobbying and increasing influence on elections diluting the voices of us regular people. Corporate lobbying is not in dispute, but H.J. Res. 48 is concerned with the increased influence on elections. People are not the same as corporate entities which are created and governed by state laws. The scales are out of balance, increasingly so. H.J. Res. 48 will help rebalance our country by protecting the rights of natural persons and placing limits on corporate political contributions.
Thanks again to Rep. Kennedy in taking this important step to protecting citizens’ access to the political process.
Kim Mellen, Foxboro