The Feb. 4 newspaper should be on everyone’s reading list. Columnist Bill Nemitz can be counted on to write about problems so many of us are concerned with.

An almost universal problem for us is big money in elections, and Nemitz may have provided us with our best hope for getting money influence out of elections (“Democracy is brewing against big money in politics”). He writes about a grassroots organization called “American Promise” headed by Jeff Clements of Portland’s Peaks Island and Massachusetts. Jeff is a 1984 graduate of Colby College.

In just three years American Promise goals have already captured the attention of 170,000 members spread around in all 50 states. American Promise objectives are for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, a decision that has allowed the flooding of our elections with millions of untraceable dollars. Money became speech and corporations essentially became persons with constitutional rights intended for living, breathing people.

A flawed precedent the courts depend on in deciding corporation cases will also have to be addressed in the amendment. In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886) the court reporter used the word “person” in his head note when alluding to the Railroad Corporation and corporate personhood was established as precedent.

Precedent derives out of court decisions not court reporters head notes. The court decision was about taxing fence lines not about corporate personhood. Since 1886 hundreds of corporations have shielded themselves with 14th amendment protection, which, in essence, was intended to protect voting rights of freed slaves following the Civil War.

The American Promise organization’s objectives and information about how to become a supporter and/or a member can be found by email to [email protected] or by writing to American Promise, 33 Bradford Street, Concord, MA 01742.


Jim Chiddix


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