Local groups are organizing to protest corporations making campaign contributions. One Bloomington group has started an effort to reverse the Citizens United decision which allows corporations to donate to federal campaigns.
“This is a kickoff of our petition drive for a constitutional amendment, to amend the Constitution to say only people are people,” Former Bloomington Mayor Tomi Allison says as she stands with more than a dozen people at the Showers Building to announce a campaign that would prevent corporations from giving money to federal campaigns.
“ Corporations are not people, and that money is not speech,” she says.
The Citizens United decision two years ago made it so corporations and unions could give money to federal political candidates. Terre Haute attorney Jim Bopp is a fierce advocate of Super PACs. He argues that according to the U.S. Constitution, corporations are just as entitled to political speech as individuals.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a corporation, a partnership, a labor union, a business—whatever you might be,” he says. “If you are able to speak, then it protects your speech. And, so it seems to me that that same principle would apply to contributions.”
Bopp says voting is ultimately what matters, not whether corporations decide to donate money to specific campaigns.
“People get to vote on these politicians, and if they don’t like it that Microsoft gives money to a candidate, well then they can vote against the candidate,” he says.
The Bloomington group has collected a number of signatures on its petition and members like Charlotte Zietlow say around the country people are beginning to protest the Citizens United decision.
“The United States is beginning to come to life and recognize that money has taken over in ways that we hadn’t understood—the way our government functions, and it’s really not acceptable,” Zietlow says.
Group members say they hope to get Bloomington on board with reversing the Citizens United ruling and then expand throughout Monroe County.