Sick and tired of “too much money” in politics? Worried the average citizen’s voice is being drowned out?
Thirty-six Democratic U.S. Senators have just the thing: a re-write of the First Amendment.
They’ve co-sponsored a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Senate Joint Resolution 19.
“We would give the power back to the Congress,” says chief sponsor Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM).
Wait. That’s amending reality. Congress never had any such power. The instructions in the Constitution are quite clear: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …”
These 36 solons reverse course with the wording
… Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on —
- the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and
- the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.
Our brand new constitution would not contain a single word of restraint. Instead, powerful congressional incumbents would wield complete and total control over all money to be raised or spent by their competitors.
And note: they already enjoy a tremendous name recognition advantage over their challengers. What happens when incumbents limit campaign spending too low for challengers to compete?
Its negation of rights is so sweeping that the amendment actually states, “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.”
No worries for the New York Times, then. But just how much of the First Amendment do the rest of us get to keep?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.