By Eliza Newlin Carney
Roll Call Staff
Nov. 29, 2011

As Occupy Wall Street activists vacate public parks around the country, several new advocacy groups have sprung up to pursue OWS-inspired constitutional amendments to limit the influence of money and corporate lobbying in politics.

The idea of amending the Constitution to overturn “corporate personhood” has also taken hold on Capitol Hill, spawning a half-dozen resolutions in the House and Senate. These include three separate amendments introduced this month by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Betty Sutton (D-Ohio).

“I think the Occupy energy that’s sweeping across America is a huge wave, and anybody who doesn’t get a surfboard on top of it is losing a tremendous opportunity,” said Nick Penniman, president of United Republic, a new nonprofit that’s set out to fight what organizers call “the corrupting influence of well-financed special interests.”

The group moved up its launch date, Penniman said, in part to tap the energy behind the Occupy movement, which lacks a specific agenda but which has spotlighted anti-corporate slogans in cities around the country. Co-founded by Josh Silver, former CEO of the media and technology reform group Free Press, United Republic already has a staff of about a dozen people and plans a $10 million budget for 2012.

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