Sunday, January 5, 2014

Move To Amend U.S. Constitution Initiative Filed in Washington State

Initiative Filed with Secretary of State on Saturday
By Janine Unsoeld

A state initiative seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution was submitted electronically to the Washington Secretary of State's office on Saturday, say organizers.
The full text of the initiative is available on the WAmend website at

The summary provided to Secretary of State Kim Wyman is:
The voters of the State of Washington urge immediate action by the current and future Washington State Congressional delegations to propose a joint resolution for an amendment to the United States Constitution clarifying that:
1)      The rights of people protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
2)      All citizens should have equal voice in the political process, and no person or artificial legal entity should gain undue influence over government as a result of financial resources. Federal, state, and local governments shall be fully empowered to regulate all political contributions and expenditures to meet this goal.
3)      All political contributions and expenditures shall be publicly disclosed in a full and timely manner.
Kim Jordan, a WAmend organizer from Whidbey Island, was in Olympia on Thursday night to meet with South Sound activists and solicit support for the initiative’s language. 
“I got involved with this movement because, over the years, I finally came to realize that government and the political parties do not function like I thought they did. I thought that politicians were dependent on the people. But too many times I saw that only a few voices - those of very wealthy interests - seemed to be controlling the conversation and that our representatives seemed to listen to them, or fear them, far more than you and I. So I knew it had to do with money…. both inside and outside of the campaigns and how it controls candidates, political parties, legislation and just about every other aspect of the political system,” said Jordan.

The statewide group is quickly becoming organized and learning lessons from the state’s recent I-522 debacle. The Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution is 27 organizations with about 1,450 volunteer petition gatherers so far.
Jordan asked for volunteers, saying that 3000 people are desired to accomplish the work of signature gathering by June 30, 2014.
“I-522 was a top down structure – that is not us. We are a volunteer, grassroots, statewide initiative, building teams throughout the state…our goal is to give templates and tools to local groups, and let them do their own field work….” Jordan told the local group, which has been active for several years in various forms.

According to a 2012 USA Today/Gallup Poll, 87% of Americans say money in the political process is a problem and want it solved.

Ninety U.S. Congressional House of Representative members and 28 U.S. Senators have announced their support for a constitutional amendment.
According to WAmend, 18 Washington State senators and 38 representatives support a U.S. Constitutional amendment, including South Sound 22nd District Senator Karen Fraser and Representatives Chris Reykdal and Sam Hunt.

Over 600 counties and cities nationwide have voted for measures calling for an end to money as free speech.
In Washington State, thirteen cities have passed resolutions supporting the move to amend: Port Townsend, Bellingham, Seattle, Langley, La Conner, Coupeville, Olympia, Kirkland, Sequim, Walla Walla, Tacoma, Oak Harbor, and Anacortes.

Three Washington counties, Jefferson, Island, and Snohomish have also passed resolutions in support of the movement.
The Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution is 27 organizations with 1,450 volunteer signature gatherers so far. The group is seeking 300,000 signatures as a buffer to ensure they get valid 250,000 signatures.

“This is do-able!” said Jordan.

Several groups have worked on the initiative’s wording, which has gone through about nine versions and will have to pass muster at the code revisers and attorney general’s office, and a Thurston County judge. The petition is expected to be printed around January 17 or 18.
“Our strategy is based on Colorado’s and Montana’s successful method,” said Jordan.

It is predicted by some that opposition will be quiet, given that the initiative is non-binding.
Language about how candidates are going to pay for campaigns is not addressed in the proposed initiative language.

WAmend is seeing a surge of support since I-522 went under because activists saw the result of corporate spending, and approximately sixty people are signed up so far to volunteer with the campaign in Thurston County, many of them who were activists with I-522, says Jordan.
“This is a different deal than I-522…I-522 had paid petition gatherers, and grassroots efforts were pushed off to the side. This is a different ballgame – this is a real citizen’s initiative. That’s what many of us thought I-522 was, but it wasn’t….” she said.
Mike Savoca, chair of the Olympia Move To Amend group, said that despite the differences in methodology to amend the Constitution, the point is that campaign spending by corporations should be limited.

"The sky should not be the limit...within days, we saw support for I-522 erode with millions of dollars and lies...The goal is equal access for an equal voice, otherwise politicians will be in contradiction to the Constitution,” he said.

Although the local group tabled outright merging with the state WAmend group, those present supported the proposed language and will work with the organization.
The Olympia Move to Amend group agreed to support the following wording to describe their own efforts: “Through collective action we pledge to work toward the common goal of educating the public about corporate personhood, with the ultimate goal of passing a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating that a corporation is not a person and as such does not possess the constitutional rights of a human being, and thus corporate campaign spending is not free speech and as such shall be subject to legislative regulation.”

Cindy Black, a WAmend organizer from Seattle, said, “I see this as a unifying issue to include seniors to youth. It’s about educating people about this issue. Whether it passes in November or not, the work continues….”
Jeff Eidsness, state organizer for Wolf-PAC, agreed, saying, “I think it’s an awesome way to network…we have support on this from all sides.”

Wolf-PAC is working on the same issue in a different way - through an Article V convention via the state legislatures. Some say this is the only official way to go about changing the U.S. Constitution.
Asked later about how he got involved with the issue, Eidsness said, “My passion for this issue stems from the level of disgust with the legalized corruption we've been handed. I grew up in a military family, and spent some of my youth in Hawaii, steeped in the lore of Pearl Harbor/WWII and the USS Arizona in particular. We were taught about the sacrifices, the blood, sweat and tears, that were offered so other people could have a better life, so it was easy for me to buy into Obama's whole Change idea.

"Well, things are different for sure, but nothing like most of us were expecting. I'm not a politically active individual by nature...(but) watching the news, it was obvious that the system wasn't working….One way I got my news was via an online talk show, The Young Turks.
"The Young Turk’s founder started Wolf PAC during Occupy Wall Street and I sat on the sidelines watching until early 2013 when I started actively participating in the most important course correction that our country has needed in generations....Given all the sacrifices others have made for this country in the past, using the system to get our politicians to do the right thing is the least I can do.”

Wolf-PAC conducts weekly conference calls to exchange updates and ideas. For more information, contact Jeff Eidsness at or (360) 349-2120.
The Olympia Move to Amend organization meets bimonthly on the first Thursday and the second Wednesday of each month. For more information, contact Mike Savoca at or go to or

For more information about money in politics, read “Dollarocracy and the Movement to Amend the Constitution,” November 17, 2013, Little Hollywood, and other articles at

1 comment:

  1. What is Wolf-PAC? Wolf-PAC is a cross-partisan organization seeking to restore our representative democracy by removing the corrupting influence of money in politics through an Article V Convention. Learn more about building a wall of seperation between wealth and state at