Last year, the Supreme Court made a disastrous ruling which upended our democracy by unleashing a tsunami of corporate spending in our elections. The Citizens United ruling has radically changed our democracy -- further tilting the balance of power toward corporate America.
Under the guise of the First Amendment, which protects free speech, the Citizens United decision allows billionaires, powerful companies and their executives to put unlimited sums of money into campaigns without even having to be identified. What it essentially says is corporations and billionaires can sit in a room and decide who is going to become the president of the United States, a U.S. senator, a congressperson, or governor. That is not what this country is supposed to be about.
Five hundred people packed into a high school auditorium in central Vermont on March 5 to hear from an expert panel, including: nationally-syndicated radio host Thom Hartmann, Ben & Jerry's ice cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Vermont State Sen. Ginny Lyons, Vermont Law School's constitutional law expert, Prof. Cheryl Hanna, and Rob Weissman, the president of Public Citizen.
The overwhelming attendance indicates that interest in this issue is extremely high. It demonstrates that there are thousands of Vermonters and millions of Americans who are worried about the virtually limitless amounts of corporate cash that is flooding our political system and are determined to do they can to take on big money and preserve our democracy.