Move to Amend: Overturning Citizens United for Transparency

Table of Contents

move to amend

MissionMove to Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.”
Date Founded2009
LocationsSacramento, CA
National DirectorKaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

What is Move to Amend? 

Move to Amend is a national, nonpartisan, grassroots organization that began over a decade ago, in September 2009. The coalition has mobilized hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals in an effort to amend the following two provisions in the US Constitution:

  1. That inalienable rights belong to human beings as well as corporations;
  2. That money is a form of protected free speech and CANNOT be regulated in political campaigns.

Move to Amend, in essence, seeks to end corporate personhood, the notion that businesses have legal rights and responsibilities conferred to human beings. By separating money from free speech, the coalition hopes to establish campaign contribution regulations, in theory limiting the influence of moneyed interests in politics.

A lack of transparency and the endless forms of non-monetary compensation will continue to obstruct our movement against the rigged economy; nevertheless, Move to Amend takes important measures to, at the very least, limit outright Pay to Play and unethical accumulation of personal wealth via PACs (i.e. congress members’ ‘legal’ slush funds).          

Like RepresentUs, Move to Amend has set its crosshair on big money, the potential U.S. corporatocracy. We will take a look at the coalition’s work, and show you how the Zero Theft Movement potentially supports and strengthens their efforts to “end corporate rule. [And] legalize democracy.”

How the Citizens United Ruling Sparked a Movement

Move to Amend was formed in response to the landmark 2010 ruling of Citizens United vs. FEC

Prior to the 2008 Democratic primary elections, conservative non-profit group Citizens United wanted to launch and market a film criticizing then-Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. The court case arose because the move violated the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BRCA). The BRCA was intended to counteract an increasing trend of political parties, corporations, or labor unions using soft-money to fund advertising endorsing their candidates and/or condemning opposing candidates. Furthermore, the legislation prevented ‘electioneering communications’ 30 days before a primary. 

The Supreme Court ruled that the free speech clause in the first amendment prohibited the government from regulating independent expenditures for political communications by any corporation (including nonprofit organizations).  

This landmark ruling, along with other court cases ruling in favor of loosening campaign finance restrictions, has led to not only the formation of super PACs but also opposing organizations such as Move to Amend.

Suffice it to say, dark money could be freely flowing between the wealthy and lawmakers. And accountability, as far as what that green stream funds, remains a poorly kept secret. You might find your friendly government officials eating Michelin star meals and drinking cocktails on the beach, believe it or not.  

The savings and loan crisis made the Federal Reserve intervene and use $500 billion (in 1990 money) to bailout financial institutions. The bailout cost more money than it took to run the entire U.S. government in 1989, including all federal worker salaries, government programs, military and intelligence services, social programs and welfare, and interest payments on national debt.

We the People Amendment (H.J.Res.48) vs. Other Amendments

The Zero Theft Movement wholeheartedly agrees with the ‘no half measures’ approach Move to Amend has taken. As the organization states, “ […] we need to operate on the assumption that once an Amendment comes out of Congress we won’t get another shot. So we MUST get it right!”

People Amendment for Move to Amend

Cartoon by Jacob Yona

(Please contact us if you are the owner and would like us to take your work down)

We cannot waste our time protesting for small change or symbolic yet empty concessions. Wholesale change is what we need, and that’s what Move to Amend is striving to achieve.

Currently, the We the People Amendment or H.J.Res.48 has received a great deal of traction and support from the citizenry, congress members, and other organizations. Their petition has 474,077 signees, and the motion to amend, led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, has 73 cosponsors (as of August 13 2020). 

The motion amends the two provisions we covered above: (1) corporate constitutional rights and (2) money as free speech. Move to Amend, understanding the realities of the legislation process, has crafted the We the People Amendment to eliminate opportunities for loopholes. 

Read it in full below: 

The We the People Amendment

Section 1.

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. 

Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. 

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2.

Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State, and local governments shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed. 

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the 1st Amendment. 

Section 3.

Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge freedom of the press.

Other Amendments

Speaking of half measures, there are two other amendment proposals that, we believe, don’t go far enough to fight against the corporatocracy.

The ”Democracy for All” (H.J.Res.2) and Schiff (H.J.Res.57) share some similarities with H.J.Res.48, neither of them eliminate money as free speech under the first amendment. Furthermore, these amendments allow corporations to retain their personhood/legal rights of natural persons. You can see the differences between the amendment proposals here.

How the Zero Theft Movement can Bolster Move to Amend

ZTM supports Move to Amend’s mission, and we believe our work strengthens all the good they continue to accomplish. 

We eradicate the layer of the rigged economy by arming you, the public, with crowdsourced and crowd-approved reports proving (1) that theft is occurring and (2) how much is being stolen by bad actors. The reason why movements like Occupy Wall Street have lacked the power to effect change is that they lacked strong evidence to wake up and mobilize the public. That’s the unique power the Zero Theft Movement provides to the public, as well as our fellow organizations, fighting on the front lines in our war against corruption.

As Move to Amend has exemplified in their approach, we cannot surrender or take half measures at this point. We must unite and collectively combat the bad actors who are ripping us off every single day, on a nationwide scale. We are talking about trillions of dollars here! 

Think of the single moms, those making below a livable wage, the many people who simply want to live a happy, healthy life. We can each get out rightful pieces of the pie, but we need you to play your part in establishing an ethical economy for all.

Explore the Problem Hierarchy

We have primers on potential problem areas of the economy. Before you start voting, it’s important you get a basic understanding of the issues at hand, so you can be as helpful as possible to other community members. Take a few minutes and come prepared.

Serve your fellow citizens as a citizen investigator

The success of our movement rests in your hands, the leaders willing to dedicate time to conduct investigations into potentially rigged areas of the economy. Lead the movement and help create an ethical economy.

Heroism made easy

All it takes is twenty minutes every day for you to help eradicate the rigged layer of the economy. Just review a proposal and vote! Our reports will only gain legitimacy and power with your contributions.

Commitment to nonpartisanship

The rigged layer causes all of us to suffer, regardless of our political allegiances. If we are to eliminate rigged economy theft, we have to set aside our differences and band together against crony capitalists and corrupt officials. 

Beyond Move to Amend…

An educated public is an empowered public. 

We regularly publish articles on just like this one on Move to Amend. They teach you all about the rigged layer of the economy in short, digestible pieces. 

Standard Disclaimer

ZTM does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.   

Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.