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posted: 10/9/2012 4:40 AM

Take government off auction block

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On the Nov. 6 Kane County ballot, there will be an advisory referendum that reads: "Should the United States Constitution be amended to limit the use of corporate, special interest and private money in any political activity, including influencing the election of any candidate for public office?"

It is there because more than 14,000 private citizens across Kane County signed petitions to put this matter before you. This is truly how grass roots democracy works: people coming together to determine their governmental future.

Some background: In 2010, the Supreme Court in the Citizens United Case held that corporations had the same free speech rights in the political process as people. This decision rewrote decades of constitutional law and acts of Congress that had drawn distinctions between corporations and people.

Some results: We've seen the growth of Super PACs. In 2011, the nine largest Super PACs received one-half of their money in $1 million gifts. The average donation to these same PACs was $88,000.

Take this seriously. Huge amounts of special interest money are being funneled into our elections. This money will determine how you live and how your children live.

What can we do?: One thing is clear, the strength of our democracy is in its people. Let us amend the Constitution to make it clear that we the people have a legitimate interest in limiting large political contributions to prevent corruption and the undermining of self-government. Let us come together to say "Our democracy is not for sale."

Pat Forestall


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