Politics

Commentary: These Resolutions Provide A Solution

NY Politicians Follow Other States in the Call for a Constitutional Convention

By: Chermo Toure

The fight against political corruption continues, and it has arrived in New York.

As of right now, there are two resolutions in the New York State legislature that are calling for an end to political corruption.

These two resolutions are called S3317, which is the NY Senate version, and A5109, the NY Assembly version. Both resolutions call for a convention of the states to add amendments to the United States’ Constitution.

These amendments would address the issue concerning the Supreme Court decisions regarding private financing of elections.

In the resolutions, they state that “The State of New York sees the need for a convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns such as those raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizen United v. Federal Election Commission… and related cases…”

The convention that these two resolutions are calling for would also address campaign finance reform not concerning Supreme Court decisions, like unions buying political favors from legislators.

A way to end political corruption is through a Supreme Court ruling or a constitutional amendment. Seeing that it was the Supreme Court that brought us to this point, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would rule against themselves.

Some may say that Congress could add amendments to the Constitution as well, which is true. However, the current congress that we have right now is part of the political corruption.

Ending political corruption seems more pragmatic to do through the states. As of now, there are 14 senators in the NY State Senate that are supporting S3317.

Meanwhile, in the NY State Assembly, there are 40 assembly members supporting A5109. The numbers are only going to increase because there are many activists lobbying and calling their representatives to have them support both resolutions.

Some may say that the NY State Senate is controlled by Republicans and Republicans would never let these resolutions pass. However, what is always omitted in this point is that ending political corruption is a bipartisan issue.

Although legislators receive “campaign contributions” from PACs (political action committee) around the country, most of them feel stressed and uncomfortable having to beg PACs for money to run their campaigns.

According to a Huffington Post article, politicians are growing tired of having to raise money for their campaigns. If legislators could do anything to alleviate that stress of having to raise money from PACs, they would.

There are people who would say New York is a big state and it would be nearly impossible to get people en masse to get their representatives to support S3317 and A5109.

However, according to a Quinnipiac poll done in 2016, over eighty percent of New Yorkers believe that political corruption is a serious problem or somewhat of a serious problem.

In a 2015 poll done by Gallup, over seventy percent of Americans believe that there is widespread corruption going on in the country.

California, which is the most populated state in the country, has already passed the very same resolution to have a convention of the states to end political corruption. We can even look across the Hudson River, where New Jersey has already passed the same resolution. The list of states also includes Illinois, Vermont, and Rhode Island.

S3317 and A5109 are not just calling for a constitutional amendment to end political corruption, the resolutions are also calling for public financing of elections.

There are some who bring up that the the taxpayers would be on the hook for the cost of a constitutional convention. Even though it would, the taxpayers would save a lot of money just by moving to a public financing election system.

According to Priceofoil website, oil companies receive $17 billion in government subsidies, which is not a coincidence. It’s because oil companies have the money to buy political favors from legislators.

This political corruption also includes the military.

Back in the 1990’s, Lockheed Martin was chosen to be the company to construct the F-35 military jet. In a 2016 Times Magazine article, the taxpayers paid up to $1.45 trillion for the F-35 military jet that had problems flying. In a 2017 The Hill article, Congress has already given the Pentagon $27 billion to revamp the F-35 program.

This is not a coincidence that Lockheed Martin was the company chosen for this, Lockheed Martin is one of the top political donors to Congress.

Political corruption has become the main polluter of our democracy.

Just about every issue that us, the citizens, want to become law is halted by corporate-PACs, super PACs, or normal PACs that buy political favor from legislators; it is a usurpation of our form of government from a republic to an oligarchic plutocracy.

After the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin what type of government the United States would be. Franklin replied to her by saying, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Benjamin Franklin’s words haven’t been more relevant than it is today.

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2 replies »

  1. As someone closely following this movement, it is a great idea. The arguments against this really have little to no weight behind them (it’s basically just “fear this, fear this other thing”), but they never discuss the absolute terror of the system we’re already currently in. There is NO fix for money in politics unless we push for one, because Congress will never regulate its own funding sources with enough bi-partisan consensus to solve this problem. And if we can’t trust Congress, and the Supreme Court is not exactly teetering on the edge of principled tenacity against corruption right now either, the best path forward is through the states. And there is some traction there. And it is all legal and Constitutional. Who is willing to dismiss this path out of fear, and then wait 20 more years for things to (maybe) get better with some hypothetical solution? This is an actual solution. I’m not interested in waiting.

  2. As someone closely following this movement, it is a great idea. The arguments against this really have little to no weight behind them (it’s basically just “fear this, fear this other thing”), but they never discuss the absolute terror of the system we’re already currently in. There is NO fix for money in politics unless we push for one, because Congress will never regulate its own funding sources with enough bi-partisan consensus to solve this problem. And if we can’t trust Congress, and the Supreme Court is not exactly teetering on the edge of principled tenacity against corruption right now either, the best path forward is through the states. And there is some traction there. And it is all legal and Constitutional. Who is willing to dismiss this path out of fear, and then wait 20 more years for things to (maybe) get better with some hypothetical solution? This is an actual solution. I’m not interested in waiting.

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