Missoula renews call for constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

Missoula Mayor John Engen

Missoula Mayor John Engen on Monday reaffirmed the city’s commitment to overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision by way of a constitutional commitment.

As he has done each of the past four years, Engen signed a proclamation on “We the People Amendment Day,” lamenting “the money that is overwhelming our elections and intimidating our candidates and elected officials.”

In the 2010 decision, a 5-vote majority of the Supreme Court ruled that “political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.”

The floodgates of corporate spending opened wide and have since poured into the nation’s elections.

Opposition to the decision continues, led nationally by Moves to Amend and locally by the group’s Missoula chapter, a dozen-plus members of which attended Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Moves to Amend wants the U.S. Constitution amended “to state that corporations are not human beings.”

Seventy-five percent of Missoula voters agreed in November 2011, passing Referendum 7653 urging state and federal elected officials to amend the Constitution.

A year later, in November 2012, 75 percent of Montana voters passed Initiative 166 “asserting that the people of Montana regard money as property, not speech; and that the people of Montana regard the rights under the United States Constitution as rights of human beings, not rights of corporations.”

That initiative also called for a constitutional amendment.

In his proclamation, Engen said the city of Missoula intends to “give evidence of our commitment every year until the United States Constitution is amended.”

Moves to Amend: “Money isn’t speech and corporations aren’t people”