On January 17, 2013 the Austin City Council unanimously approved the Central Texans United To Amend (CTUTA) resolution calling for a Constitution Amendment ensuring that money is not speech and that the use of funds by artificial entities to influence the electoral or legislative process, and shall be regulated.
CTUTA is a network of independent groups calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to combat the unlimited flow of money into our elections. Members of the network are:
- Coffee Party Austin
- Austin MoveOn Council
- Common Cause of Texas
- Justice Party of Texas
- Occupy Austin
- Public Citizen of Texas
- Wolf-PAC Texas
On January 19, 2013, organizers and activists from across Texas took to the South Steps of the Texas State Capitol to mark the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and to rally in support of two concurrent Texas resolutions (SCR 2 and HCR 21) before the 83rd Legislature calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish that political expenditures are not protected speech under the First Amendment, and that only natural persons are protected by constitutional rights. There was also support for a third concurrent resolution (HJR 94) calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention to address this issue.
The Problem: Discarding a century of precedent, the United States Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, swept aside long-standing campaign finance laws and cleared the way for unlimited corporate spending in elections. The Court ruled that political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and that the government may not prevent corporations from giving money to support or oppose individual candidates for public office. Any attempt to set limits on these “independent political expenditures” at the city, county, state or federal level is now unconstitutional. This ruling gave enormous power to corporations to influence not only the outcomes of our elections but also the decisions made by our elected officials once in office. Agriculture, civil rights, criminal justice, the economy, education, the environment, healthcare, housing, immigration, infrastructure, taxes — money in politics influences the decisions our elected representatives make on every major issue our state faces, often at the expense of ordinary citizens, families, and small businesses.
The Solution: Only a constitutional amendment can restore the ability of our elected representatives in Congress and the Texas Legislature to regulate the expenditure of money in politics. Resolutions have been submitted to both houses of the Texas Legislature directing the U.S. Congress to initiate this amendment process. We need to ask our representatives to pass these resolutions. SCR 2 is the Senate version (introduced by Sen. Rodney Ellis) and HCR 21 is the House version (introduced by Rep. Senfronia Thompson). Eleven states and over 300 municipalities have passed similar resolutions. Help make Texas the 12th state to ask Congress to get money out of politics. Another avenue to accomplish this goal is to call for an Article V Constitutional Convention. HCR 25 (introduced by Lon Burnam) does this.
By signing this petition you will help us put pressure on our elected officials to support measures that address the undue influence of money in our political process.