Campaign reform advocates call for clean elections measure on SC ballot

Most South Carolinians are now feeling the effect of unregulated corporate cash that has flooded the state with record numbers of nasty political ads. While most bemoan the devolution of the campaign system – including some GOP candidates – some are redoubling efforts to do something about it.

Advocates for campaign finance reform will hold a press conference on Jan. 20 at 1:30pm in the lower lobby of the State House on the second anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that deregulated limits on corporate campaign donations and fueled record spending in the SC Republican presidential preference primary.

John Crangle, Director of Common Cause of South Carolina, will address the implications of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

“Most people disagree with the Supreme Court rulings that corporations are people and money is speech,” Crangle said. “Amending the US Constitution is going to take some time, but we can address this corruption on a state level now by passing clean elections.”

Rep. Joe Neal, Co-chair of the SC Progressive Network, will speak about the Clean Elections Act that he reintroduced this week. (See more at the Network’s web site.)

“The Clean Elections Act has been introduced in every legislative session since 2000,” Neal said, “but now I think people are waking up to reality that public offices are on the auction block.” Over 90 percent of the candidates for the state legislature that spend the most money win.”

“South Carolinians who are disgusted with the flood of unregulated cash that is corrupting our political system have a way to fight back,” he said. “The Clean Elections Act will allow people to run for office without having to accept corporate, private or PAC money, and still run a competitive campaign.”

Rep. Neal’s legislation calls for putting clean elections on the general election ballot this November.

Citizens who are concerned about money corrupting our political system are invited to attend the press conference.

Corporate personhood trumps human rights

Charlie Smith
AFFA, Charleston

The 14th Amendment was adopted to ensure the constitutional rights of freed slaves and their descendants after the Civil War. There have been roughly 325 federal court cases relative to this amendment since that time. Nineteen of those cases have actually had anything at all to do with a human being. The remaining 300 or so cases have been part of the ongoing corruption process that grants “personhood” to corporations.  

“Corporate Personhood” is the legal concept that grants most of the rights of natural living, breathing citizens to corporations. Under our constitution US corporations are allowed virtually every right of human beings, including such rights as the right to marry.

This “marriage/merger” concept which flies in the face of “traditional marriage” is openly embraced by conservatives who will freely grant to a profit-making business what they flatly refuse to grant to millions of our living, breathing LGBT citizens. Did anyone hear a single conservative objection when half the major banks in our country eloped with the other half in 2008? Even corporations like Blackwater and Halliburton are allowed to serve openly in every branch of our military — unlike thousands of living breathing gay and lesbian citizens who still serve and suffer under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

What we have discovered over the course of the past year is that along with our “constitutional rights,” human persons also have the obligation to serve time in prison and in some cases be executed when they break the law. Corporations have somehow managed to avoid that unpleasantness.

In the wake of last week’s decision in the Citizens United case, corporate rights of personhood will now also include the right of corporations to buy politicians and elections with no limit on the corrupting power of their contributions. This is because corporations as “persons” must be granted free speech. This free speech right is in addition to their corporate “human right” to marry and their corporate “human right” right to serve openly in the military.

Does anyone see the irony that corporations have now been granted more “Human Rights” by the Supreme Court than millions of our own anatomically HUMAN citizens have been granted? After the last two years of outrageous corporate arrogance and greed, why is it that we have done absolutely nothing to strip those rights from corporations, yet we strip those very same rights every day from our very human LGBT soldiers and citizens?