EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 26, 2014

Letter: Kingston's Article 22 is about campaign finance reform


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

Kingston’s Warrant Article 22 is a bit confusing, but boils down to one issue: Do we want to bring back popular, bipartisan campaign finance reform, including the McCain-Feingold Act and other laws dating back to 1905 that were gutted by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United v. FEC case? Large corporate and union lobbying groups would like to continue to influence elections anonymously and have managed to convince the Supreme Court that their First Amendment right to free speech was being curtailed by campaign finance reform laws.

But why would a corporation have constitutional rights? Every owner, member and employee of a corporation has individual constitutional rights and they have never been threatened by campaign reform laws. But a corporation is not a person; it is an entity created and owned by people. Since people cannot be owned (13th Amendment) and corporations are owned, it follows they can’t be people. A corporation cannot vote, even if it is 18 years old; a corporation cannot run for office, nor claim other constitutional rights reserved for people. Why would we extend them just free speech?

There are two Senate Joint Resolutions (18 and 19) and two House Joint Resolutions (20 and 21) that have bipartisan support that would

reinstate Congress’ authority to regulate campaign gifts and spending and to clarify that corporations and unions do not have the constitutional rights of people. Article 22 asks our state and congressional legislators to back those amendment bills. Please vote yes.

Peter Coffin

Kingston