Making Democracy Work

Reaching Consensus On Money In Politics

Why

The 1974/1982 LWVUS position on campaign finance, though broad, does not specify what political activity we believe constitutes free speech protected under the First Amendment For almost 40 years the Supreme Court's approach and the League's approach recognized the risk that campaign contributions could be corrupting or appear corrupting. That changed with the 2010 Citizens United decision. The Court extended its view of the First Amendment to allow unlimited "independent" spending by corporations and unions and by narrowing the meaning of corruption to quid pro quo - essentially bribery. The League's current position does not balance the First Amendment interests of candidates, donors, independent spenders and issue advocates against equitable competition among candidates, preventing undue influence, and maximizing citizen participation in the political process. To be able to take action in the current context of campaign finance reform we must be prepared to answer such questions.

The Consensus Questions

Part I questions address the regulation of campaign financing in terms of democratic values.

Part II questions relate to the extent to which we believe that First Amendment protections of free speech and freedom of the press should apply to various speakers and activities.

Part III questions ask what actions should be taken to regulate campaign financing to protect the democratic process.

When

The League of Women Votes of Concord/Carlisle will hold a public forum on Keeping the American Promise: Money, Free Speech and Democracy on the evening of Wednesday, January 13. Our speaker will be Jeff Clements, a co-founder of the organization Free Speech for People. Jeff was the person who alerted the LWVCC to the impact of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision just before the decision was reported. More information will be forthcoming about the forum.

Consensus meetings will be held in the morning on Wednesday, January 19th at the Fowler Branch Library from 9:00 + 1:00. Or if you prefer, come to the evening meeting on Thursday, January 21st at 1360 Monument Street from 7:00 - 10:00 -- Look for the LWV sign at the driveway. The snow date for the morning meeting is Wednesday, January 20th, and the snow date for the evening meeting is Friday, January 22nd.