Are residents ready for a constitutional amendment?

To the Editor:

The public corruption case against Larry Householder and his 501(c)(4) nonprofit Generation Now points to the need for campaign finance reform and an end to dark money political contributions.

Gov. Mike DeWine favors transparency, but he has cautioned that any legislation to increase transparency must be consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. A bipartisan bill to increase transparency — House Bill 737 — has been introduced in Columbus and has the support of Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

But will any legislation be enough?

Probably not.

Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted constitutional rights, including 1st Amendment rights, to corporate entities and has ruled that money spent on elections is a protected form of speech. Corporate entities—which include large corporations, unions, associations and nonprofits — warrant statutory rights and protections, but those rights and protections should never have greater weight than our constitutional rights nor more influence over policy than the people’s voice.

This is why we need to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that constitutional rights belong to human beings only — not artificial entities created through state charter — and money spent on elections is not a protected form of speech and shall be regulated. Without a constitutional amendment, the Supreme Court might very well rule that legislation stemming from House Bill 737 is unconstitutional.

Ohioans understand the need for campaign finance reform and an end to so-called corporate constitutional rights. Across the state, 25 communities have passed either ballot initiatives, municipal resolutions or municipal ordinances in support of a constitutional amendment.

In light of the Householder scandal, are Troy residents concerned enough about big money, dark money and corporate influence in politics to demand a constitutional amendment?

— Deb Hogshead