After losing her spouse of fifty-six years in June 2014, 81-year-old Rhana Bazzini decided it was time to take to the streets. Inspired by Granny D’s walk across the country for campaign finance reform, Rhana began planning “Project Granny D”, a walk from Sarasota to Tallahassee to promote Move to Amend and Campaign Finance Reform. At 5’ 3” and 94 lbs, Rhana is a tightly-packed bundle of energy and she is on a mission to reform our political system to say that corporations are not people and money is not speech!
(Image via David Ryder, Reuters)
Last week, Free Speech For People filed an amicus brief in IFA v. Seattle, in defense of Seattle's new 'living wage' law, now under fire from the International Franchise Associations, the National Restaurant Association, and other industry trade groups. Our legal director, Ron Fein explains today on Reuters.
MINIMUM WAGE UNDER FIRE IN SEATTLE
Legal Advocacy Group Says Workers’ Rights Are At Stake
SEATTLE, WA- Free Speech For People, a national non-profit legal advocacy and public education
organization, is joining the defense of Seattle’s new “living wage” law, now under fire from the
International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association, and other industry trade
A series of "pay-to-play" scandals gave politically-connected financial executives access to a public pension funds in exchange for political campaign contributions. State political parties are taking this to federal court to fight for their right to direct public pension funds and big Wall Street money into their campaigns.
In the Albany Times Union, Ron Fein explains how the use of pensions to "fund pay-to-play violates the First Amendment right of public servants not to be forced to subsidize someone else's political contributions."
"The SEC rule protects that right. Let's not put the interests of Wall Street over the First Amendment rights of people who live and work on Main Street," writes Fein.
Read the full article
Free Speech For People Provides Comment On Letter Regarding Proposed Changes to Pay-To-Play Regulations
Free Speech For People joined Public Citizen, Progressive Alliance, AFSCME, ReFund America Project of the the Roosevelt Institute, U.S. PIRG, and the Consumer Federation of America, and Americans for Financial Reform to comment in support of the MSRB's proposed refinement of Rule G-37, which expands the reach of the rule to municipal advisors.
Rule G-37 is intended to combat pay-to-play practices, which describes where "a person makes cash or in-kind political contributions to help finance the election campaigns."
On Hobby Lobby, Justice Ginsburg was correct in her dissent, says a recent piece by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker. Toobin writes of the aftermath of the Court's ruling, which opened the door for corporations to claim special religious privileges that are not available to anyone else.
Read the full article.
The belief the wealthy have too much power or too much influence over American politics is widespread, yet the background of the Citizens United decision seems to be less known. More specifically, the concept of corporate personhood has its own history, which Jeff Clements explains in the newly updated and expanded, "Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money and Global Corporations."
In a recent interview published in The New Republic, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed her regret over several of the current Court's rulings, including the case of Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the floodgates for unlimited spending in elections.
Justice Ginsburg told The New Republic, "If there was one decision I would overrule it would be Citizens United."
Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles recently shared an op-ed with the Sacramento Bee on the history of California's Political Reform Act and what it means today, nearly 40 years later.
Ron Fein, Free Speech For People's legal director, appears on Jurist today as a guest columnist. In his latest piece, Fein explains, "The Supreme Court's majority opinion in Hobby Lobby made a serious mistake about the nature of corporate religious claims. But so did the dissent."
To read the full article on why every single Supreme Court Justice got Hobby Lobby wrong, click here.