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Petitions Submitted To Overturn Citizens United Ruling

Shorewood and Whitefish Bay voters will be asked whether they support a constitutional amendment that reverses the controversial 2010 Supreme Court ruling on corporate political donations.

More than 1,000 signatures were submitted to Shorewood and Whitefish Bay village halls today calling for a local referendum to get big money out of politics.

The petitions demand the villages of Shorewood and Whitefish Bay hold a referendum asking residents whether they would support a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which states corporations have the same rights as people and can spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns.


A group of about 70 volunteers from Grassroots North Shore collected 1,232 signatures in Shorewood and 1,405 signatures in Whitefish Bay. The group was  required to collect 1,027 signatures in Shorewood and 1,156 in Whitefish Bay – which is 15 percent of the voters that cast a ballot in the most recent gubernatorial election.

"People are recognizing that this runs against the concept of democracy as we know it," Grassroots North Shore President Keith Schmitz said. "We are joining countless communities across the country including Wisconsin in saying that we want to have our voices heard, and we're standing up against the hijacking of our political system through big money."

The effort was spearheaded specifically by Grassroots North Shore member Shirley Horowitz, who said – of the 70 volunteers – all but 10 were from Whitefish Bay and Shorewood. The remaining volunteers were from neighboring North Shore communities.

"Primarily this was the efforts of a lot of people who had not even participated before in politics," she said. "They just showed up out of nowhere and said they were willing to help."

With the petitions submitted, Whitefish Bay and Shorewood will now join 18 municipalities and counties in Wisconsin that have went on record against the Supreme Court ruling. 

United Wisconsin, a statewide political advocacy group, has helped organize each of the petition drives, and is now focusing on a petition campaign in Waukesha.

Sixteen states have already went on record against Citizens United, which is nearly halfway to the 34 states needed to introduce a constitutional amendment. Erik Kirkstein, the deputy director for United Wisconsin, said legislators will again attempt to get a Citizens United referendum on the statewide ballot in the next legislative session.

"What we are really doing is sending a message that we want the state of Wisconsin to join the 16 states who have already passed a constitutional amendment calling to reign in corporate spending on elections and put citizens back in charge," Kirkstein said.
Bob McBride August 27, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Tbone, all the proposed amendment does is target CU. It doesn't "keep big money out of politics" or address campaign finance reform, lobbying or pork. All it says is that artificial entities aren't entitled to protections under the constitution granted to individuals. If you haven't done so, you might wish to read the proposed amendment (it's available on the Move to Amend site).
AWD August 27, 2013 at 01:55 PM
I want those petition names! I want to know the people that live in the village who want to deny my free speech rights. Probably the same ignorant people that signed the recall Walker petition. Citizen United leveled the playing field for the average tax payer, it was needed to fight off the rampant greed of the public and private sector unions.
Greg August 27, 2013 at 02:27 PM
How do you differentiate between corporations? If Acme Corp. spends money (resources) promoting an issue or a candidate, how is that different from a corporation like NBCUniversal spending money (resources) promoting an issue or candidate? And further, if Acme Corp. pays NBCUniversal to support programming that promotes an issue or candidate, is that OK? Freedom of the press does not cover promotion. Entertainment is big business and they have just as much to gain or lose as any other corporate entity. Censorship has a fine line.
wendyjeanne August 29, 2013 at 09:19 AM
"Sixteen states have already WENT on record ..." If Shorewood Patch is supposed to represent Shorewood residents, at least get your grammar correct. "Went" instead of "gone" was used twice in this small article. Shame on you.
Louie Miller August 29, 2013 at 05:40 PM
WJ, Their grammar should be better simply because they represent Shorewood? How dare they foul the intellectual environment--OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! When the Democrats begin to test for and reject web based donations from outside the country (its illegal to accept foreign donations) I'll begin to worry about legality of other donation sources.

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