Citizens United Advisory Referendum Introduced


Contact: Jim Crist, 608-274-6201,

Citizens United Advisory Referendum Introduced

Rep. Subeck, Sen. Hansen back giving voters a voice

MADISON — On Wednesday, April 19th, two lawmakers introduced resolutions that would create a Citizens United advisory referendum asking voters if they support putting limits on the corrupting influence big money has in political campaigns.

The Money Out, Voters In coalition, which backs the bill, includes 34 grassroots organizations in Wisconsin. The non-binding referendum would give voters the opportunity to declare how they feel about corporations, unions and other artificial entities spending unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcomes of Wisconsin elections.

“When our Founding Fathers envisioned the right to free speech, I certainly don’t think they were envisioning major corporations spending millions of dollars to influence elections,” said Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), the Assembly lead author of the bill. “Corporations should be using their profits to put America back to work, not to buy our public elections.”

In the most recent election cycle, outside spending on federal elections reached $1.4 billion, ten times more than the 2008 election cycle. Much of this money comes from a handful of billionaires. Approximately, $6.5 billion dollars was spent on the 2016 federal elections.

“It doesn’t matter what part of the state you live in, the overwhelming flood of money pouring into our state to influence our elections is a major concern,” said Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), who is the lead Senate author of the bill.  “Candidates no longer have control over their own campaigns and the voters have no true sense of where candidates stand on the issues anymore.  It’s time to let the voters be heard on this critical threat to our democracy.”

Rep. Subeck and Sen. Hansen introduced the resolutions at 11:30, in the Assembly Parlor. The Assembly bill is currently designated as LRB-176 and the Senate bill is LRB-1138.

In the 2010 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court sided with the wealthy elite against the interests of the American people. More than 5 million people have signed petitions expressing their strong opposition to Citizens United. Over 730 communities across the U.S. have passed resolutions and 18 states have called for a constitutional amendment. Wisconsin United To Amend has been a champion of reform, supporting citizen activists around the state. A total of 105 communities in Wisconsin have passed referenda and resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment. In total, 2.8 million people (49% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. The amendment would clarify that:

  • The rights protected in the Constitution are those of individual human beings only
  • The spending of money is not speech, and political spending can be limited to allow all Americans to participate in the democratic process

United To Amend is a non-partisan, all volunteer, grassroots organization.

For more information visit

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Link to this press release.

Photos: photo1, photo2, photo3, photo4, photo5, photo6 and photo7.

Eight More Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

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Contact: George Penn, 608-244-6436,

Eight More Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (April 5, 2017) – On Tuesday, April 4th, Wisconsin residents in eight communities voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only human beings should have inalienable human rights and money is not the same thing as free speech.

All referenda passed with overwhelming majorities: Racine (81%), Monona (91%), Fox Crossing (81%), Blue Mounds (88%) and the towns of Crystal Lake (79%), Caledonia in Waupaca County (70%), Blue Mounds (84%) and Jordan (71%). It was not on the ballot in the town of Neshkoro, as previously reported.

That brings the total to 105 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, 2.8 million people (48% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 18 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 730 towns, villages, cities and counties.

Nancy Schanke, a leader in Waupaca County, said: “These referenda consistently pass with amazingly high margins. This clearly demonstrates the will of the people. It is time for our state representatives to put this resolution to a statewide vote, and to move towards sending a resolution from Wisconsin to the U.S. Congress.”

On Wednesday, April 19th, Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. Dave Hansen will introduce resolutions that would create a statewide Citizens United advisory referendum asking voters if they support allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. For more information, see press release.

Jeff Zdrale, a resident of Fox Crossing, explained that: “We need limits on how much money can be contributed and spent on political races. Only people have a constitutional right to free speech. Money is not ‘political speech’ under the First Amendment.”

Four in five Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, according to a Bloomberg poll. A New York Times/CBS poll from June found that 85 percent of Americans—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—believe we need fundamental changes to our campaign finance system or to completely rebuild it.

Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement. For more information visit

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2, photo3, photo4, photo5, photo6 and photo7.