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Move to Amend to present case to Kirkland City Council

Anon-partisan Kirkland group with Move to Amend will present their cause to the Kirkland City Council on Sept. 18.

“Our goal is to have the Kirkland City Council vote on and pass a resolution that will state simply - in their terms of course - that ‘corporations are not people and that money is not an expression of free speech,’” said Bill LaMarche, member of Move to Amend.

The anti-‘Citizens United’ grassroots group, originally called “Citizens for Responsible Government,” is comprised of LaMarche, Andrea McBeth, Geoff Stevenson and Sally Mackle all of Kirkland.

The four will present 350 petition-signatures and a three part Power Point presentation to the Council at the meeting. According to LaMarche, members of the Kirkland Move to Amend met individually with members of the council in August and were “received well.”

Move to Amend connects small local groups and state-wide organizations together with hopes to eventually change the ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. In 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, which defined corporations as “people.” LaMarche says this resulted in giving corporations all the Constitutional protections that an individual has but without restraints.

“There’s very little chance that a normal person, even a wealthy normal person, has a chance to compete in terms of influence in a campaign,” LaMarche said.

Currently there are nine other Move to Amend groups - in Friday Harbor, Oak Harbor, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Southworth, Auburn, Tacoma, Olympia and Richland - scattered throughout Washington. Their main goal is to connect Washington so that they could form a state chapter.

LaMarche says corporations or PACs are able to “buy off” elections in a non-transparent way.

“(Corporations) don’t want to see something like this pass because they want to contribute in silence because if you’re a shopper in their store and found out they were contributing huge amounts to a political campaign that you didn’t care for, you might stop shopping there,” LaMarche said.

LaMarche suggests political candidates get funding in a transparent way or through public donation. LaMarche says although he understands why people wouldn’t want to fund campaigns, he thinks that there should be a set amount to which candidates could individually promote themselves. Then public funds could kick in after that within a budget, it would be a lot more fair.

Kirkland residents are invited to weigh in on the meeting. More information on city council meetings visit kirklandwa.gov.

 

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