Eight years ago the U.S. Supreme Court over-turned a ban on the amount of money corporations can contribute to political campaigns.
That case was called Citizens United.
Green Bay, Appleton and Neenah-Menasha’s United to Amend group celebrated the landmark case with an “unhappy” birthday party.
That party was not so much a celebration as it was a call to change who or what can make monetary donations to a political campaign.
“We have to return the democracy to the people,” says Betty Kossik, Green Bay’s Unite to Amend organizer. “The small people have no voice, now there’s a few people controlling all the money elections and we’re hoping that democracy is restored through the 28th amendment.”
Groups like “United to Amend” of Green Bay, Appleton and Neenah-Menasha want to add a 28th amendment to the constitution that would make it clear that only individuals can make contributions to campaigns.
That does not include corporations, unions non-profits or other artificial entities.
John Gosling has been a part of the movement who believes big businesses should not be able to spend an unlimited amount on candidates.
“I came to the event because I believe that our constitution needs to be changed so that we don’t put money ahead of the people’s best interests,” says Gosling.
The group has made efforts to grab the attention of legislators around the state, but getting the word out has been an uphill battle.
“Senator Dave Hansen has proposed a bill that Wisconsinites can vote on if they want to overturn citizens United or not and we can’t get the bill out of committee,” says Kossik.
Several cities, villages and towns in the state have adopted local resolutions to reverse Citizens United, but only state and federal legislators can initiate the amendment process.
Gosling believes that everyday citizens like himself can get the ball rolling.
“I think that we should put more value into letters, in petitions than in donations or money that to me is a more accurate reflection of people care and concern for the improvement of our world.”