The national spokesman for a movement to change the federal Constitution to clarify that constitutional rights apply to people instead of corporations will visit Port Angeles and Port Townsend today (Sunday).
David Cobb, National Move to Amend spokesman, will be the guest speaker at two community forums: from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Port Angeles Senior Center, 328 E. Seventh St., and at 7:15 p.m. at the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler St.
Today’s forums, “Creating Democracy and Challenging Corporate Rule,” are sponsored by Clallam and Jefferson County Move to Amend and WAmend.org.
The movement to amend the Constitution began after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Jan. 21, 2010, ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a case that dealt with regulation of campaign spending by organizations. It permits corporations to act as individuals.
Cobb’s visits to the North Olympic Peninsula will be his first stops on a statewide tour preceding an effort to put an initiative before the state Legislature next year, said Andrea Radich of the Clallam County Move to Amend and WAmend.org.
Cobb — an attorney, activist and the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate — will speak about the history behind the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and other related cases, organizers said.
In April, Move to Amend volunteers will begin gathering signatures on a petition to send an initiative to the state Legislature, Radich said.
The measure would urge Washington’s congressional delegation to propose amending the Constitution to clarify that constitutional rights apply to natural persons, not corporations, and to authorize greater regulation of political contributions and expenditures, according to the organization’s literature.
The initiative would go to the Legislature in January, Radich said.
“They can either pass it or put it on the ballot for 2016 or write their own measure on the ballot along with it,” she said.
If approved, it would make Washington state the 17th to call for a constitutional amendment.
Organizers had hoped to put an initiative on the ballot in November last year but failed to collect sufficient signatures.
Volunteers collected 7,200 signatures in Clallam County and more than 9,000 signatures in Jefferson County, Radich said.
“We’re hoping to keep a lot of our volunteers from the last effort and are looking for new ones,” she said.
For more information in Clallam County, contact Radich at 360-457-6884 or [email protected]
For information in Jefferson County, contact Dianne Diamond of Port Townsend at 360-385-2341 or [email protected]