In December Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) joined with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to introduce the OCCUPIED constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United campaign finance decision. It stands for “Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy.” Deutch says the effort is aimed at stopping corporate dominance over politics. “The problem in our political system today is, is that special interest corporations have more and more influence and push the interests of typical Americans to the margins,” Deutch says. “The framers of the Constitution never intended to give constitutional rights to corporations … We need to get the corporate money out of the political system and return democracy to the people.”
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to end the discussion with Congressmember Ted Deutch on a slightly different issue. It’s the issue of Citizens United. Last December, you joined with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to introduce the OCCUPIED constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United campaign finance decision. It stands for Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy. Can you talk about this effort, OCCUPIED?
REP. TED DEUTCH: Sure. And these issues are absolutely related. The fact is, these voter suppression laws around the country are—it’s been shown, have been funded by and supported by ALEC. The problem in our political system today is, is that special interest corporations have more and more influence and push the interests of typical Americans to the margins. This OCCUPIED amendment, this constitutional amendment, would overturn Citizens United. It would make clear that corporations aren’t people, that they—the framers of the Constitution never intended to give constitutional rights to corporations, the ones that we enjoy and cherish. It also makes very clear that for-profit corporations, which are created for the sole purpose of making money, cannot use their resources to influence the outcome of an election. We need to get the corporate money out of the political system and return democracy to the people. If we could do that, we’ll see changes not just in the way campaigns are run, but in the debate that takes place in Washington, in the issues that we take up. That’s why this is so important, and we continue to work hard at it. OccupiedAmendment.org is where people can learn more about it, and I hope they will.
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AMY GOODMAN: And how exactly, Congressmember Deutch, do you push it forward?
REP. TED DEUTCH: Well, it’s obviously not easy to pass a constitutional amendment. Unfortunately, at times like this, this is the only thing that we can do, now that the Supreme Court has acted the way that they did in the Citizens United case. There are efforts around the country to go out, and I encourage people to go out and work with their local governments, their city councils, their county commissions, and encourage them to pass resolutions in support of overturning Citizens United. And finally, everyone should—everybody should ask their elected officials and any candidate that they talk to whether they support an effort to overturn Citizens United and give the power of our democracy back to the people. That’s what’s at stake here. That’s why this is so important. You know, there are a lot of my colleagues here who have taken a pledge to Grover Norquist. That seems to be what guides their decision-making process. I think it’s appropriate that we ask all candidates, including people who are in office already, to commit to stand up for the American people.
AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Ted Deutch, I want to thank you for being with us, Democrat of Florida; Maureen Russo, joining us from Fort Lauderdale, purged from the Florida rolls, then told she would not be purged in a phone call; Diana Sen, lead counsel for LatinoJustice.