CA City Considers How to Update Rules after Citizens United

The Daily Journal: “Increasing the maximum amount of campaign contributions and whether businesses should be allowed to donate money to candidates are among the considerations the Belmont City Council will explore as it evaluates whether its current policies are both legal and timely.

“The council discussed updating its ordinance Tuesday night along with getting rid of a third campaign contribution report, whether donors must disclose their identity and who should be allowed to contribute to those running for any city office.”

“Seeking consistency with constitutional law

“Currently, those running for a Belmont office are barred from accepting contributions from businesses or organizations and conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.”

Good Overview on Disclosure, Way Forward

Mint Press News: “But it’s not just disclosure exemptions and cleverly promoted television ads that have prompted public concern. Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, the unlimited contribution and outside spending amounts have prompted various advocacy groups and legislators to push for remodeling campaign finance and disclosure policies in their states.

“‘Most do not have great disclosure laws or conflict of interest laws,’ Mansur Gidfar, communications director for anti-corruption group Represent.Us, told MintPress. ‘In a lot of cases, every situation around the laws that govern how money interacts with the political process is actually a lot worse at the state level than it is at the federal level.'”

“‘Under current law, regardless of how biased the endless amounts of political ads are in support of or are against a specific candidate, the source of funding for an ad does not have to be disclosed if the ad does not explicitly use the phrases ‘vote for’ or ‘vote against.’

“‘You can spend an unlimited amount of money sending out mail in a legislator’s district saying that Legislator X … has done a terrible job for you,’ [Minnesota state Rep Ryan] Winkler told MintPress.

“But despite any insinuations, the nonprofit organizations can claim their ads are educating voters on an issue, not politicking, as long as they don’t employ those ‘magic’ words.”

UT City Council, Mayor Signed Resolution Against Citizens United

St. Louis Tribune: “Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Council signed a joint resolution Tuesday recognizing opposition to the 2010 “”Citizens United”” Supreme Court decision that opened funding floodgates in political campaigns.

The action, acknowledged that 89 percent of Salt Lake City voters who responded to the city’s 2013 opinion question opposed the “”Citizens United”” ruling, which found that corporations were people and money was speech and government could not legally restrict independent political contributions.

According to a statement from the Utah Chapter of the national grassroots organization called Move to Amend, Salt Lake City will join over 600 U.S. cities opposed to the Supreme Court ruling.”

600 Communities Join in Stirring Call to Ban Corporate Personhood, Regulate Speech

The Nation: “In states across the country, voters signaled that they are ready to take the steps that are necessary to constrain the “money power” of billionaire campaign donors and corporate lobbies in order to restore honest debates, honest elections and honest governance.

“Counties, cities, villages and towns in Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin took up the question of whether the US Constitution should be amended to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which struck down century-old limits on corporate spending to buy elections.

“The demand was clear and unequivocal. While the questions on ballots across the country varied modestly, they all paralleled the message of the ballot question that earned 70 percent support in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin: “Shall the United States Constitution be amended to establish the following? 1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and 2. Money is not speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.”