Question Profile: Question Two

Ellie Chappuis, Journalist

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Question Two regards whether a commision should be made to recommend amendments to the decision of the Citizens United case, which allows corporations to donate unlimited amounts to PACS (Political Action Committees, which significantly influence elections). If created, it would propose amendments that would make corporations not have the rights of people. The committee, if formed, will consist of 15 people appointed by various high-ranking state officials.

The people in favor of the commission argue that corporations are not people, and voting “yes” will help take out some of the money in politics. They argue that allowing corporations the rights of people corrupts the political system by giving too much power to the rich. Jeff Clements, speaking for the group People Govern, Not Money, said, “75% of Americans, including liberals and conservatives, support this amendment to correct the court, with 19 states and over 200 Massachusetts communities formally calling for it.”

The people against this initiative believe the Citizens United decision was correct, and that it supports the right to free speech. The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance said, “The First Amendment protection of our freedom of speech is one of the pillars of our democracy and should be preserved and expanded at every possible opportunity. The less government standing in the way of the exercise of that right, the stronger it is. However, even if you disagree with the Citizens United decision, an amendment to the United States Constitution is a dangerous and misguided way to go about undoing it.”  They believe that the Citizens United case was ruled on correctly, and even if you disagree, proposing an amendment is the wrong way to fix it.

People Govern, Not Money has raised over $280,000 supporting a ‘yes’ vote. Polls conducted by the Boston Globe and WBUR News suggest that an average of 68% of people support a “yes” vote, and 24.33% of people support a “no” vote. (ballotpedia.org) This is an important ballot initiative because it could lead to a constitutional amendment, which is extremely significant. The amendment would be important because it could change the way politicians raise campaign funds, and therefore affect elections and policy decisions.

 

Sources

“Massachusetts Question 2, Advisory Commission for Amendments to the U.S. Constitution Regarding Corporate Personhood and Political Spending Initiative (2018).” Ballotpedia, ballotpedia.org/Massachusetts_Question_2,_Advisory_Commission_for_Amendments_to_the_U.S._Constitution_Regarding_Corporate_Personhood_and_Political_Spending_Initiative_(2018).

“What Is Citizens United?” RepresentUs, Vox, represent.us/action/citizens-united-2-2/.

 

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Question Profile: Question Two