Occupy the Courts supporters met on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol at 10 a.m. holding signs that read "Corporations Are Not People" and "Restore Democracy" -- step one in their two-part protest of corporate personhood under the umbrella title Move to Amend. CleanSlateNow.org, Colorado Common Cause and Denver MoveOn Council all co-sponsored the event, timed to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
Ken Gordon, a former state senator and founder of CleanSlateNow.org, addressed a group of some 100-200 people -- a smaller turnout than expected.
I caught up with Gordon after the speech, and he told me there's still a lot of work to be done to get "big money" out politics -- Occupy the Courts is only one part of it. "This isn't just about amending the constitution," he said. "It's about electing candidates who have values, who want to represent the people and not money."
That's where his organization comes into play. "What Clean Slate Now is doing is talking to candidates and saying, 'We're going to help you if you don't take special interest money. We'll talk about you in a positive way, we'll help you get the message out and get elected,'" Gordon says.
The day continued with a surge in wind and a march down the 16th Street Mall to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Building at 1 p.m.
Speakers included Colorado Move to Amend's co-chair Steve Justino and Occupy Denver's Tanner Spendley. "We're working on these solutions of corporate personhood, but at the same time, we're going to have to stop shopping at Walmart. We're going to have to change our meaning of wealth and happiness," Spendley announced to a crowd of protesters. "We can't let it end with amending corporate personhood. We have to keep fighting."
The wind picked up and the crowd started to thin, so Justino decided to cut the speeches short and continue on with the program. Next stop: Up the steps and into the front hallway of the courthouse to turn in Move To Amend's 28th Amendment; read it below. Justino had the honor of passing off the amendment to United States Court of Appeals clerk.
The movement doesn't stop at the courthouse, Gordon stressed. In his words, "We're going to work through the election cycle to help candidates get elected that won't take special interest money...because that's what people want. Once candidates see that's the way to win, there could be a tipping point."
Here's the text of the amendment:
Section 1 [Corporations are not people and can be regulated] The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated] Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
Section 3 Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Littleton launched with five-person general assembly."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.