On Tuesday, the Tacoma City Council joined more than 150 municipalities and counties throughout the United States by passing a resolution which states, in part, that corporations are not people with constitutional rights.
In this state, Tacoma joins Bellingham, Olympia, Port Townsend, Seattle, Jefferson County, Snohomish County and Island County in lobbying the state legislature to pass a memorial (formal request) to Congress requesting legislation to reverse the Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010. A change will most likely require an amendment to the Constitution.
The Tacoma City Council members spoke convincingly on their reasons for supporting or opposing the resolution. Their discussion contributed much to the debate of campaign finance reform and the part that the Citizens United decision plays with this issue.
Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Deputy Mayor Joe Lonergan and Councilmen Marty Campbell and David Boe opposed the resolution, but each of them expressed the need for campaign finance reform on the local, state and national level.
Polling of voters, including small business owners, shows that a majority believes that money in politics is having a negative impact on our communities. When large business interests can provide unlimited funds to influence elections, elected officials can no longer afford to make decisions they know are best for the majority of their constituents.
In addition, when the wealthiest and most powerful interests have disproportional influence in our democracy, voters lose faith in the process and turn out in lower numbers.