Scott Walker: Unconstitutional to overturn Citizens United locally?

Kevin Rutledge on April 24, 2015
Does Governor Scott Walker think it’s unconstitutional to pass local resolutions to overturn Citizens United and end unlimited campaign spending on elections?

Recently, the billionaire Koch brothers announced Gov. Scott Walker as their preferred candidate for president.  These are the same Koch brothers that pledged $898 million to the 2016 presidential elections.

On Friday April 24th, I travelled to Cedar Rapids to ask Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker if he would listen to local communities across Iowa and the country that are passing local resolutions for campaign finance reform and overturn the 2010 Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision.

In Iowa, groups like Public Citizen and Move to Amend have already helped pass local resolutions in seven towns calling for an amendment to the U.S. constitution, to stop unlimited spending to influence elections, candidates, and policy decisions.  These resolutions would abolish corporate personhood and declare that money is not speech.

Governor Scott Walker didn’t take any questions from the audience during his speech, so I stood in line to shake hands, take a picture, and try to ask him a question.  A young man in front of me asked Governor Walker about his shifted immigration views, which was reported by The New York Times a few hours later. 

When it was my turn, I decided to take an (accidentally) blurry “selfie” with the Governor as I was by myself, then proceeded to ask him if he would listen to communities passing local resolutions for campaign finance reform.

At first, Governor Walker diverted his response broadly to the constitution and the process for a constitutional amendment.  After I explained the concerns of Americans not knowing who is funding or supporting political attack ads now on TV, he expressed that he understands that process.

Yet Walker continued to say that he doesn’t support communities passing local resolutions to stop unlimited spending in politics, claiming they “ignore the constitution,”

“I don’t believe that you should, that if people don’t like part of the constitution that they could pass a local resolution to ignore the constitution.  Whether I like or dislike parts of it, I got to follow it.”

Does Governor Scott Walker think it’s unconstitutional to pass local resolutions to overturn Citizens United and end unlimited campaign spending on elections? 

 

Full conversation:

My question to Gov. Scott Walker:  “Will you listen to communities across the country and in Iowa of passing local resolutions for campaign finance reform to overturn Citizens United? And to end corporate…”

Gov. Scott Walker:Well the constitution is the constitution, so the constitution wouldn’t be at the local level.  It would actually be having a constitutional amendment.  Because the courts are clearly ruled and I believe in the separation of powers that are ultimately, if there’s a change to be made, that it’s got to be made at the constitutional basis. And that would be, there’s a whole process spelled out in the constitutional referendum.”

Me: “It’s just there’s a lot of political attack ads, you know that nobody really likes either.  So like, people don’t know who is really funding them or like who’s supporting them.”

Gov. Scott Walker: “No I understand the process.  It’s just one of those where to me, the constitution was set up specifically so there’s a process to amend it if people don’t like to be a part of it, and that’s the process they use. I don’t believe that you should, that if people don’t like part of the constitution that they could pass a local resolution to ignore the constitution.  Whether I like or dislike parts of it, I got to follow it. Now if I want to change it, I got to use the process spelled out.”

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Kevin Rutledge

Kevin Rutledge AFSC Governing Under the Influence Presidential Campaign Project

Kevin Rutledge is the Grassroots Education Coordinator with AFSC’s Presidential Campaign Project in Iowa.  Kevin has deep family roots in Quaker activism for peace and social justice.  A graduate from Iowa State University in Sociology and Criminal Justice, his previous work includes: United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) organizer, Public Citizen online organizer to overturn Citizens United, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, and a youth residential treatment facility.  Kevin hopes to one day return to Brazil and live by the beach.

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill .