Nov. 7, 2010 update: To clarify a point raised in comments, this bill would make no limits on donations by individuals who are registered to vote (so yes, Soros and the Kochs could make their donations as governed by other statutes, so long as they are registered to vote), but it would absolutely prevent unions from donating to candidates out of their general funds, because not all union members are registered voters or U.S. citizens. To make political donations, unions would have to create separate funds that would be limited to money from registered voters. A group such as the AARP would be a tricky one, since it is a political advocacy group that also offers non-political programs to members. Perhaps AARP could have two separate membership rolls -- registered voters and "other" -- but perhaps my bill should be amended to specify that groups organized for other purposes (like unions) that wish to contribute to candidates or causes may not use general dues and fees as the source of such donations. I would support such an amendment.
Additionally, an American union that also represents a factory in Canada and owns an office building in Toronto would fall under the same definition as British Petroleum. --dc
WHEREAS: The United States was founded on a belief in government of the people, by the people and for the people, and;
WHEREAS: Corporate spending on American elections -- through donations to candidates, political parties and political action committees and through the purchasing of political advertisements -- is both destructive to the founding principles of our Republic and dangerously on the rise, and;
WHEREAS: Attempts to correct this injustice have been opposed on the basis of the First Amendment right to free speech, a founding principle that must be conserved and promoted on behalf of the citizens of this nation, then;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
1. That the same laws that restrict who may legally and freely vote in the United States of America shall be applied to the donation of money for political causes;
2. That registered voters in the United States shall be free to donate to candidates, political parties, political action committees and any group that lobbies the government or engages in political speech, subject to existing laws and disclosure requirements;
3. That it shall be a criminal act, punishable by fine, for any candidate for any office to receive a contribution of any amount from any person, foreign or domestic, who is not also a United States citizen and a registered voter in his or her place of legal residence;
4. That it shall be a criminal act, punishable by fine or imprisonment, for any person who is not a registered voter in the United States to fraudulently donate or attempt to donate funds of any amount to a candidate, party or political action group by claiming to be a registered voter. This law would also apply to individual registered voters who receive funds from non-registered voters for the purpose of making a donation of them;
FURTHERMORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
5. That the United States government shall enact no law limiting the free speech rights of any person, regardless of nationality or citizenship status, and affirms the right of all persons, regardless of their citizenship or voter registration status, to make, publish or otherwise publicly express their political beliefs;
6. That in the interest of fair elections, persons who are not registered voters but who wish to make donations to political candidates, causes or organizations shall be free to do so, under the following conditions;
A. That the donation shall be made publicly and reported to the Internal Revenue Service;
B. That the donation shall be taxable;
C. That the tax rate for the interest receiving the donation shall be 50 percent;
D. That the tax rate for the person making the donation shall be not less than 50 percent;
E. That all taxes collected on the political contributions of persons who are not also registered U.S. voters shall be applied to the public financing of elections, to be distributed to all candidates who meet the requirements established by law to receive such funds.
7. That the conditions established in Section 6 shall also apply to donations by persons who are not also registered U.S. voters when the donations are made to any organization that has engaged a registered lobbyist on behalf of its interests;
8. That any person who is not also a registered U.S. voter and who directly purchases advertising of any sort as a medium for political speech shall be taxed on the full value of that advertising, at a rate of not less than 50 percent, with the proceeds applied to public financing of elections. So too will donations to groups for the purpose of purchasing political advertising be taxed, if the person making the donation is not a registered voter;
9. That any person who is not a registered voter in the U.S. and maintains citizenship in another country shall be prohibited from making donations to political candidates in the U.S., and also prohibited from making donations to fund lobbying and/or purchase advertising and support for political speech;
10. That the prohibitions in Section 9 shall also apply to persons are not registered U.S. voters and who maintain legal residences in, or who own property in, foreign countries.
SO ENACTED THIS DAY.