Local group continues fight against Citizens United ruling

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Sandra Mohamed, Andrea Smith, of Upper Township, Patrick Sbarra, Susannah Newman, of Cape May, Mark Dognes and Hope Jenkins at the state Senate committee hearings in Trenton last week. Sandra Mohamed, Andrea Smith, of Upper Township, Patrick Sbarra, Susannah Newman, of Cape May, Mark Dognes and Hope Jenkins at the state Senate committee hearings in Trenton last week.

TRENTON – A local chapter of the American Dream Movement Coalition traveled to Trenton last week for a vote on a state Senate resolution urging Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew has offered the resolution. It was approved by the state Senate’s State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee on Thursday, June 14.
Members of the American Dream Movement Coalition held a press conference and presented the committee with 12,500 petitions in support of the resolution, SR47, before the vote.
The coalition is pushing for SR47 to have a successful vote from the full state Senate by the end of June, as well as approval for an identical Assembly resolution, so New Jersey can be a part of the national conversation during the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on a Constitutional Amendment scheduled for July 17 in Washington, D.C.
The Assembly resolution has yet to be put on the State Government Committee agenda. Both resolutions express strong opposition to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United, which allows corporate campaign spending as a First Amendment right.
Cities, towns and states representing 80 percent of voters, as well as 27 state Attorneys General and 66 percent of small businesses, have called for the overturn of the Citizens
United decision, according to Susannah Newman, of Cape May, coordinator of the statewide NJ For the Overturn of Citizens United campaign.
“This is not a partisan issue,” she said. “Unprecedented amounts of money are pouring into elections from undisclosed sources. Big money is setting national and state agendas and their outcomes. It is almost impossible for constituents to be heard over the cranked up volume of Super PAC and billionaire money, which is deafening.”
Mark Doenges, an ADM activist and small business owner from Voorhees, told Senate committee members that “corporations are, in fact, artificial entities created by state statutes and that the word ‘corporation’ does not appear in the U.S. Constitution.”
Small business owners are right there among individual voters who cannot compete with “larger, louder companies in the marketplace,” he said.
Groups represented in the American Dream Movement Coalition include Free Speech for People, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, MoveOn, NJ Political Interest Research Group, Move to Amend and Common Cause.


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