In his latest piece in the Orlando Sentinel, Free Speech For People legal director Ron Fein writes,

“Who do our politicians represent — their constituents or big funders? Consider the U.S. Sugar Corp. Maybe you share U.S. Sugar’s views about Florida’s tax, agricultural and environmental policies; maybe you don’t. But you didn’t give over $650,000 in state elections, and you don’t have 29 lobbyists working for you in Tallahassee. So when it comes to issues like restoring the Everglades, who do you think has more influence over how our representatives vote: you or Big Sugar?

A recent study concluded that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically nonsignificant impact upon public policy,” and “the preferences of economic elites … have far more independent impact upon policy change.”

But now we can do something about it.

This isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats. Disney is one of the biggest contributors in Florida elections, and it gives almost evenly to both parties. Since Mickey underwrites both parties, he’ll get the welcome mat in Tallahassee no matter who wins.

And this isn’t just about local companies and big donors; most of the big money spent on Florida elections comes from outside the Sunshine State. Since Citizens United, more than $200 million in outside money has poured into Florida elections. A recent report in the Tampa Bay Times described Florida as “one of the biggest and most expensive laboratories in this new era of loosely regulated money.”

Do Floridians really want their elections being funded this way?

They don’t. Not in Tampa, which unanimously passed a resolution supporting an amendment to overturn Citizens United. And not in Lake Worth, or Gainesville, or South Miami, or any of the other Florida towns and cities that have passed similar measures.

And not in the rest of the country, either. Poll after poll shows more than 80 percent of Americans — Republicans and Democrats — oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. They understand that the influence of corporate and wealthy donors outstrips that of ordinary voters, and that the system should be changed.

The American people — in every state and every city — should be free to define how we want our politics to be funded. We can’t do that right now, because the Supreme Court has said that it would violate the Constitution. And so our only real recourse is to amend the Constitution to restore the original understanding: Money is not speech, and corporations are not people.

Some opponents of the amendment bill claim that it would give the government the power to ban political speech. But that’s silly. The amendment says that “Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.” That’s regulating money, not speech.

And if Florida voters pass a ballot measure limiting contributions for governor to $100 per person, then it has to be $100 per person, be that contributor Democrat or Republican, white or black, man or woman. Similarly, if the people of a small Florida town agree that a $10,000 budget is more than enough for a town-council race, then they can set a $10,000 spending limit for town-council elections — but it must apply equally to incumbents and challengers. It doesn’t allow Congress to discriminate against particular candidates; it simply restores the American people’s ability to take charge of our own politics.

Sen. Bill Nelson recently decided to co-sponsor the amendment, and should be commended. Sen. Marco Rubio hasn’t yet decided to support the amendment. But it’s not too late. Forget about Democrats, Republicans, and the political fights of today. This is about reclaiming our democracy for ourselves and our country’s future.”

Click to read the original article here.