Letter: Council Resolution would Support Amendment to Counter Citizen’s United

Dear One,

We worked HARD to get CLEAN ELECTIONS for our island. And it was GREAT! Now Karen Eoff is proposing a Resolution to get rid of Citizens United through the nationwide group: MOVETOAMEND.
Please come on Wed. Sept 2nd to the County building and testify in support of this resolution. Municipalities and states all over the nation are starting this groundwork to amend the US Constitution to clarify that Corporations are not “people” and that money is not speech. The future of our democracy depends on our getting this cleared up. Please pass on this message to your progressive friends. Aloha,

Noelie Rodriguez



Editor’s Note:  The Council meeting takes place in Hilo starting at 9 a.m. with live connections for video testimony at the Council’s satellite offices around the island.  Text of the resolution is below:


WHEREAS, the United States Constitution was written and approved with the intention of protecting the rights of individual human beings (“natural persons”); and

WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution, and the people of the Unites States (“The People”) have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of The People; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court, in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of commerce (1990), recognized as a threat to a republican form of government “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) (“Citizens United”) reversed the decision in Austin by rolling back legal limits on corporate spending in the electoral process and allowing unlimited corporate spending to sway votes and influence elections, candidate selection, and policy decisions; and

WHEREAS, the majority decision in Citizens United was recognized as a serious threat to self-government by the four dissenting justices. Corporations have special advantages not enjoyed by natural persons, such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets. These advantages allow them to amass and spend prodigious sums on campaign messages that often have far greater reach and influence than messages from individuals; and

WHEREAS, federal courts in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and in SpeechNow.org v. FED (2010) overturned limits on independent expenditures because the “corruption or perception of corruption” rationale was only applicable to direct contributions to candidates; and

WHEREAS, Unites States Supreme Court in Justice Stevens observed in Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC (2000) that “money is property, it is not speech”; and

WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution allows The People of the various states to amend the U.S. Constitution to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that challenge our democratic principles and the republican form of self-government; and

WHEREAS, there is widespread opposition to the Citizens United ruling that money is speech and that independent corporate campaign spending cannot be limited; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I that it urges Hawai’i’s congressional delegation to propose and pass an amendment clarifying that corporations are not people with constitutional rights, and that unlimited campaign spending is not free speech.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk shall forward copies of this resolution to United States Senator Brian Schatz, United States Senator Mazie Hirono, United States Representative Mark Takai, United States representative Tulsi Gabbard, Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., Governor David Y. Ige, State Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, and Speaker of the State House of Representatives Joe Souki, and the Honorable Mayor William P. Kenoi.


3 replies
  1. Handyman
    Handyman says:


    Corporations are not natural persons nor is money,….speech.

    This is very important to the citizens of America. Please pay close attention to what is happening and please participate in support of this change.

    Thank you and Aloha.

  2. James Weatherford
    James Weatherford says:

    It is not simply “political contributions” at issue.
    It is the overwhelming and largely unlimited amounts of money that political action committees are now pumping into campaigns. In some cases, like the carpenters union in Hawaii, political action committees are distorting the democratic process just as corporate/high wealth individuals are, through political action committees.
    The necessary goal is to remove such extreme financial influence from the political process, no matter where that influence may come from.

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