To the Editor:
Dear voters: When you vote for congressman from the 15th Congressional District, please consider that candidate Patrick Lang recognizes the need for a constitutional amendment to override the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United v. The Federal Elections Commission, decided Jan. 21, 2010.
That case declared significant portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold) unconstitutional with the result that there is now no limit on the use of corporate general treasury funds to influence elections.
In outlining the historical precedents for McCain-Feingold, Justice Stevens, author of the Citizens United dissent, wrote, "At the federal level, the express distinction between corporate and individual political spending on elections stretches back to 1907, when Congress passed the Tillman Act," and, "The Taft Hartley Act of 1947…extended the prohibition on corporate support of candidates to cover not only direct contributions, but independent expenditures as well."
The Citizens United case took to an extreme the notion – first expressed by the Supreme Court in 1886 – that corporations, though they cannot vote and cannot hold elective office, have a constitutional right to free speech which extends to a right to advocate for the election of – or defeat of – candidates for federal office. And, extending an earlier ruling, the Court held restrictions imposed by McCain-Feingold on independent expenditures from corporate or union general treasuries, even where those expenditures are used to expressly advocate the election – or the defeat – of candidates for federal office, are also unconstitutional.
The reasoning of the case applied to state statutes similar to McCain-Feingold. The Supreme Court recently confirmed this when it reversed a Montana Supreme Court decision that upheld the state's laws restricting corporate expenditures advocating the election of – or the electoral defeat of – candidates for state office.
Pat Lang has been clear that, if elected to Congress, he will support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will not only roll back the Citizens United decision and keep corporations out of elections which rightly are the business of human persons only, but also eliminate the entire pernicious doctrine that corporations are "persons" in the sense that they, like humans, are entitled to the protection of constitutional rights. Unfortunately, Mr. Lang's opponent, Rep. Steve Stivers, has not made the same pledge.
A vote for Pat Lang for representative to Congress from Ohio's 15th Congressional District is a vote for democracy. A vote for his opponent is a vote for corporate hegemony.