C.B. Pearson

followed 11/7: MT Voters Pass I-166 2012-11-08 18:22:45 -0700

Voters Overwhelmingly Endorse Initiative 166

November 07, 2012
Contact: C.B. Pearson
406-544-0032

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Download the PDF

Montanans Say Corporate Money Should be Out of Our Elections, Montanans Stand Against Big Money in Elections 

HELENA — Montana voters strongly endorsed I-166, the Prohibition on Corporate Contributions and Expenditures in Montana Elections Act, by a margin of three-to-one giving the citizen initiative a vote of 75 percent.

“This election has been unprecedented for big money and secret money; Montanans, and our country, need to stand together to address the problem of corporate money in our elections,” said C.B. Pearson, treasurer for I-166 and a long-time Montana campaign reform advocate. “With this vote, Montanans have provided much needed leadership on this important issue, much as we did 100 years ago with the passage of the Corrupt Practices Act. Montana experienced firsthand abusive, corrupt corporations trying to run the business of this state, and now we face a potential new era of corruption. That is why passing I-166 is so important.”

“With this initiative, Montanans are calling on every elected official in Montana to fight for fair elections and fight to overturn the horrible Citizen United decision with a constitutional amendment that says ‘Corporations Aren’t People and Money is not Speech.’” said Pearson.  “The fight for fair elections free of the corrupting influence of big money is just beginning.  All Montanans need to work together to clean up our elections, end the big money scandal, and address the problem of secret money.”

I-166 received bipartisan support from prominent Montana political figures. Governor Brian Schweitzer (D), Lt. Governor John Bohlinger (R), and former Secretary of State Verner Bertelsen (R) were the first to sign the petition to place I-166 on the ballot and came together to author the argument for I-166 in the Voter Information Pamphlet.

"We need to get the dirty, secret, corporate, foreign money out of our elections,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer.  “Just as we did over 100 years ago, Montanans stood-up and took the first step, sending a clear message to the nation that corporations are not people and money does not equal speech.  Now it's up to Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to get the dirty, secret, corporate, foreign money out of our elections for good."

Supporters of I-166 believe that the strong passage of the measure in Montana will have a ripple effect throughout the country, and will ultimately lead to the overturning of the Citizens United decision.

“Montana’s rebellion against corporate money in politics has sparked a fire that has already spread to many states and will soon be spreading to many more,” said Derek Cressman, Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause, a good government group and one of the lead supporters of the Stand with Montanans campaign in partnership with Free Speech for People. “We are already getting inquiries from leaders in other states who want to launch similar initiatives in 2014 to keep pushing back against the court’s big mistake in Citizens United,” he added.

"Montanans voting for I-166 in such strong numbers reflects how important it is to Americans everywhere that we overrule the U.S. Supreme Court and overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment, and the fact that it happened in Montana shows the geographic sweep and trans-partisan depth of this growing national movement," said Peter Schurman, Campaign Director of Free Speech For People, a national non-profit organization founded the day of the Citizens United decision that leads and catalyzes the national movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn it and to rein in unchecked corporate power.

With this historic vote Montana voters became one of the first two states where voters have gone on record calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen United decision.

More information is available at www.StandWithMontanans.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StandWithMontanans, on Twitter, @STANDwMONTANANS, and by calling (406) 356-NOV6 (6686).


posted about Support a 28th Amendment on Facebook 2017-03-04 11:52:59 -0700
Sign the petition: Sign Our Petition to Support for a 28th Amendment

Sign Our Petition to Support for a 28th Amendment

Join Montanans from all walks of life in a cross-partisan call to urge every candidate for U.S. House to work to ensure that people – not money, corporations, or special interests, but We The People – govern, here in Montana and across the nation:

 

571 signatures
Dear Candidate for the U.S. Congress,
Montana’s next Representative to Congress must stand with the people of Montana in support of a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution, an Amendment to ensure that people – not money, corporations, or special interests, but We The People – govern, here in Montana and across the nation.
In the upcoming special election to fill Montana’s vacant U.S. House seat, we the undersigned ask that every candidate (regardless of party) comply with the very clear instruction of the people of Montana: we are asking that every candidate stand with Montanans and work to win cross-partisan support for a 28th Amendment to the US Constitution, to finally remove the corrupting influence of money from our elections and our political system.
Our elections are under assault by unlimited money, and our next Congressmember should put some good old Montana muscle behind the 28th Amendment! Thank you.

followed Join 2012-07-02 20:02:33 -0600

Join Stand with Montanans

Join Stand with Montanans to get involved in the campaign. We are building a team of supporters to attend events, volunteer with the campaign, and help spread the word about this important effort. Only together will we, the people of Montana, succeed in pushing back against the tidal wave of big money in politics.

Please include your full address in the address field below and use commas to separate the street, city, state, and postal code.


posted about Take Action on Facebook 2015-04-24 15:18:03 -0600
Sign the petition: Thank You

Sign the Thank You Card

Please thank Gov. Bullock, Sen. Ankney and Rep. Garner for their leadership in passing the Montana Disclose Act.

595 signatures

We want to extend our sincere gratitude for your work to pass the Montana Disclose Act and sign this important legislation into law. It is refreshing to witness political leaders, from different parties, come together to address this threat to our democracy. With your leadership, Montana is taking a stand against dark money.

Montanans are united in support of clean and fair elections and against the secretive, special interests who seek to buy our elections. There is still much work to do to turn back the tide that has eroded our campaign finance laws in recent years, but dark money groups can no longer operate in the shadows.

Thank you for shining a bright light on those dark money groups. Thank you for restoring fairness and transparency to our elections.

With sincere thanks,


published Where Do Your Candidates Stand in Blog 2012-08-30 11:32:17 -0600

Where Do Your Candidates Stand

Yesterday we asked Montana’s sitting elected officials and candidates to take a stand with Montana citizens.

We asked them two simple questions: (1) Will you vote in favor of I-166, and (2) Will you follow the instructions from voters if I-166 passes this November?

Thomas Jefferson once said that “an informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.” That’s why we’ve asked all Montana federal and statewide candidates (except judges) where they stand on I-166.

How will your elected representatives and candidates respond?

Where do they stand on corporate influence and Big Money in our elections?


commented on About 2012-08-28 16:48:21 -0600 · Flag
Again please read the initiative and the findings by the Montana Supreme Court.

Obviously we don’t agree.

Please be respectful in your comments.

Thank you.

published Will I-166 Opponents Come Out of the Shadows? in Blog 2012-08-17 15:31:00 -0600

Will I-166 Opponents Come Out of the Shadows?

Opponents would like to keep the debate over I-166 in the courtroom, but Montana voters deserve better. In Montana, our politics are face-to-face, person-to-person, and the issue of corporate money in elections warrants a vigorous public debate.

That's why I sent a letter on Wednesday challenging our opponents to a series of debates.

The letter went to:

  • Lorna Kuney (treasurer for Montanans Opposed to I-166)
  • Chris Gallus (attorney for Montanans Opposed to I-166)
  • James Brown (attorney for Montanans Opposed to I-166 and American Tradition Partnership)
  • Donny Ferguson (executive director, American Tradition Partnership)
  • Sen. Dave Lewis (plaintiff in the Montana Supreme Court challenge to I-166)
  • Phil Lilleberg (plaintiff in the Montana Supreme Court challenge to I-166). 

We are waiting on their response.

Read the letter for yourself...

 


published 8/15: Challenge in News 2012-08-15 14:10:00 -0600

Stand with Montanans Issues Debate Challenge

August 15, 2012
Contact: C.B. Pearson
406-544-0032

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Download the PDF                                                                    

Calls on Opponents to take the debate over I-166 out of the courtroom and to the people 

HELENA – Today, Stand with Montanans Treasurer C.B. Person sent a letter to I-166 opponents challenging them to a series of 10 debates this September.

“We invite you to join us in taking this debate over I-166 out of the courtroom and to the people,” reads the letter signed by I-166 Treasurer C.B. Pearson.

Opponents filed a suit with the Montana Supreme Court on June 20, asking for I-166 to be removed from the November ballot. On August 10, the Montana Supreme Court rejected the challenge in a 6-1 decision. But later that day, opponents filed another lawsuit, this time in a Fergus County district court.

“To date, your opposition to I-166 has focused on legal challenges aimed at blocking a vote by Montanans on this citizens’ initiative in November. Just last week, in the wake of the Montana Supreme Court decision rejecting your first lawsuit, you filed yet another frivolous lawsuit.  Frankly we don’t know who is funding this effort and we don’t know who are opponents are and by offering this challenge we hope the people of Montana will find out.  In Montana, our culture of politics is person to person,” said Pearson.

While opponents have decided to focus their efforts on legal challenges to I-166, the Stand with Montanans campaign is calling for opponents to engage in a series of debates to better inform Montana voters about the issue on which they will be voting in November.

“We believe there is a concerted effort to hide who is funding the opposition campaign and who is leading this opposition effort. We hope that during the debates you will inform Montanans who is funding your campaign, as that is currently unclear. We also hope that you will illuminate who are the leading opponents to this measure, as few have so far come forward,” said Pearson in the letter.

“This November, Montana voters will have the opportunity to cast their votes on one of the most important issues of our time. The issue of corporate money in elections warrants a vigorous public debate; therefore, we challenge you to a series of debates to be held during the last two weeks of September,” said Pearson in the letter.

The letter was sent to Lorna Kuney (treasurer for Montanans Opposed to I-166), Chris Gallus (attorney for Montanans Opposed to I-166), James Brown (attorney for Montanans Opposed to I-166 and American Tradition Partnership), Donny Ferguson (executive director, American Tradition Partnership), Sen. Dave Lewis (plaintiff in the Montana Supreme Court challenge to I-166), and Phil Lilleberg (plaintiff in the Montana Supreme Court challenge to I-166). In the letter, Pearson asks the opponents to accept the challenge and identify who will be representing the opposition.

To date, opponents have filed two lawsuits, but it is unclear who is funding those legal challenges. The campaign finance report filed on August 10 by Montanans Opposed to I-166 reports $0 income and $0 in expenditures, shedding no light on the source of funding for the opposition’s legal challenges.

“Montana voters expect and deserve more; our politics are face-to-face, person-to-person. Using faceless and expensive legal actions – funded by out-of-state groups with deep pockets who won’t disclose their funders – is not the Montana way,” said Pearson in the letter.

More information is available at www.StandWithMontanans.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StandWithMontanans, on Twitter, @STANDwMONTANANS, and by calling (406) 356-NOV6 (6686).


published "When Pigs Fly" - Some Politicians Don't Get It. in Blog 2012-08-10 09:36:00 -0600

"When Pigs Fly" - Some Politicians Don't Get It.

Clearly, some politicians don’t get it. 

We want our elections back and we are not going sit back and let some politicians, who don’t support fair elections and are comfortable with a corrupt election system, stand in our way.

That is why we need your help.

I want to share with you a letter to the editor that appeared in today’s Helena Independent Record, and ask you to help with a response. The letter is from Sen. Dave Lewis, who is party to the lawsuit that would deny Montanans a chance to vote on I-166.

Basically, Sen. Lewis says our effort to get corporate money out of our elections and restore government of, by, and for the people “will be approved when pigs fly.” You can read his full letter below. But, frankly, I think his letter insults the work that we have done together to get I-166 to this point.

What if those who opposed slavery did not fight for a constitutional amendment? And would Sen. Lewis have said the same thing to those who advocated for the 18-year-old vote, and even women’s right to vote?


commented on About I-166 2012-08-03 17:05:43 -0600 · Flag
Just a few hours ago I debated James Brown – the attorney that is trying to knock I-166 off the 2012 ballot – and block your right to vote. This is a taped show – will run this Sunday August 5 at 10pm http://www.beartoothnbc.com/features/dunwellreport/index.1.html – and through out Montana the following week.

As soon as it goes live we will post.

We challenged him to say who is funding the lawsuit and we challenged the opponents to a set of debates in September throughout Montana.

published 7/11: Qualification in News 2012-07-11 16:48:00 -0600

Initiative 166 Qualifies for the November Ballot

July 11, 2012
Contact: C.B. Pearson
406-544-0032

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Download the PDF

It’s Official: Montana First State to Vote on a Statewide Initiative That Advocates Ban on Corporate Money from Elections

HELENA - The Montana Secretary of State today made it official, Initiative 166 - the “Prohibition on Corporate Contributions and Expenditures in Montana Elections Act,” will appear on the fall ballot.  Several other initiatives were proposed and circulated but I-166 is the only initiative circulated this spring that has made it on the fall ballot.

“Montanans want clean and fair elections and don’t want corporations to use their checkbook to buy our elections,” said C.B. Pearson, treasurer for I-166 and a long-time Montana campaign reform advocate. “For nearly a century, Montana had elections free of corporate money. But now our fair elections system is compromised.  The recent controversial decision by the US Supreme Court on Montana’s Corrupt Practices Act makes this initiative even more important and significant.”

The proposed ballot measure would make it state policy that corporations are not human beings with constitutional rights, that money is not speech, and would charge Montana’s congressional delegation to support an amendment to the United States Constitution to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

“Now the people of Montana get to speak on this important issue,” said Pearson.  “In addition it is important that all elected representatives and candidates in Montana declare how they stand on I-166 and whether they will honor the wishes of the people to have fair elections.”

The initiative has received broad support, including endorsements from prominent political leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties. At a May 3 signing ceremony and endorsement event in Helena, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer joined Republican Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger and Republican former Sec. of State Verner Bertelsen in endorsing I-166. Many Montana small businesses have also endorsed I-166.

“Montanans are leading the way in the fight to restore government of, by, and for the people,” said Pearson. “We led the way 100 years ago when we passed the Corrupt Practices Act, and we are once again leading the way as Montanans stand up against the bad Citizens United split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, in its 2010 Citizens United decision, and recent refusal to hear Montana’s history,  has ruled that corporations have the same rights as people and that unlimited corporate political spending equates to constitutionally protected free speech.

“It’s crazy, every Montanan knows corporations are not people,” said Pearson. “They do not breathe, they do not have children, they do not die fighting in wars for our country, and they do not vote in our elections. Now this November, Montana voters will have the chance to clarify that corporations are not people, that money is not speech, and once again act to get big money out of our elections.” 

Montana law requires that petitions for statutory initiatives receive at least 24,337 valid signatures and qualify at least 34 house districts by receiving signatures from 5% of registered voters in those districts. County elections offices, which have until July 20 to file verified signatures with the Secretary of State, are continuing to process I-166 petitions. But the petition to place I-166 on the November ballot already has 25,146 verified signatures and enough signatures to qualify in 42 of Montana’s 100 house districts.

The Stand with Montanans: Corporations Aren’t People – Ban Corporate Campaign Spending campaign submitted more than 40,000 signatures, and should end up with over 30,000 verified signatures and qualify in more than 50 house districts.

“In just two months, hundreds of Montanans have joined together to fight political corruption,” said Pearson.  “This level of support enabled Stand with Montanans to collect over 40,000 signatures and qualify in a majority of the house districts. Montanans from all parts of the state have shown their support and interest in preserving fair elections in our state.”

More information is available at www.StandWithMontanans.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StandWithMontanans, on Twitter, @STANDwMONTANANS, and by calling (406) 356-NOV6 (6686).


Stand with Montana in fight against corporate personhood

Guest column by Verner Bertelsen, C.B. Pearson, and Becky Douglas
Column ran in the Missoulian on March 16, 2012 and in the Helena Independent Record on March 18, 2012

It’s time for Montanans to stand up for themselves.

More and more, our individual voices are getting drowned out by big money in politics. The recent Citizens United v. FEC decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has made the situation intolerable.

That’s why on Feb. 28, we filed a citizens’ initiative that we hope will appear on the 2012 ballot.

This initiative states clearly that corporations are not people. Corporations do not breathe, they do not have children, they do not die fighting in wars for our country, and they do not vote in elections.

We hope that you’ll stand with Montanans in this fight. This is one of the greatest challenges in our lifetime and we Montanans are in a critical position in this historic debate.


published 3/2/12 Montanans lead the fight... in Blog 2012-03-02 15:52:50 -0700

Montanans lead the fight to end corporate control of our elections.

A recent New York Times editorial, “Undermining State Campaign Laws,” was spot on in identifying what is at stake in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision and the subsequent challenge to Montana’s century-old Corrupt Practices Act of 1912.

The column concludes with this: “At stake is whether state elections will be decided by corporations that are allowed to spend unlimited amounts to influence the results.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

The discussion over corporate personhood, defining money as speech, and granting political speech rights to corporations can easily go into an esoteric realm only truly understood by lawyers and policy wonks. But the question at hand is fairly simple: should corporations be allowed to use their immense wealth and their corporate checkbook to influence our elections?


published History in About 2012-02-21 13:00:00 -0700

Montana History

At the turn of the last century, Montana politics was dominated by copper barons who wielded their immense wealth to control Montana newspapers and run the state government like it was their own subsidiary. Their power and influence went so far that one copper baron, William Clark, actually bought himself a U.S. Senate seat, which at the time was decided by a vote of the Montana State Senate rather than a vote of the people.

In 1912, fed up with such corporate influence and corruption in Montana politics, Montana voters passed the Corrupt Practices Act by initiative, thereby banning direct corporate spending in Montana elections.  For 100 years, Montanas Corrupt Practices Act has served our state well, ensuring that our state government ultimately serves the people of Montana, and not wealthy corporate interests.

But in January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its ill-conceived Citizens United decision, found that corporations are entitled to the same rights as people and therefore the government cannot limit political spending by corporations. While the Montana ban on corporate spending was upheld in a recent decision by the Montana Supreme Court, that decision was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Until February 17th, Montana was the only state in the country still enforcing a ban on corporate spending in elections after the Citizens United decision. But on that day, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the recent decision by the Montana Supreme Court, opening the door for big money to flood Montana's state elections. And on June 25th, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed the Montana Supreme Court decision, thus throwing out Montana's 100-year old Corrupt Practices Act without even hearing the evidence in the case.

Without an amendment to the U.S. Constitution clarifying that corporations are not people and that money is not speech, our carefully enacted policies aimed at cleaning up elections and reducing the undue influence of money in politics will remain under threat.


published Rules 2012-02-21 11:17:00 -0700

Rules

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  3. 1 account per person.

published Blog 2012-02-21 11:15:00 -0700

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published Spread the Word in Take Action 2012-02-21 11:15:00 -0700

Spread the Word

Only together will we, the people of Montana, succeed in pushing back against the tidal wave of big money in politics. In 2012, we successfully passed a Montana citizen initiative calling for a ban on corporate campaign spending. Now, we are working to shine a light on dark money by passing the Montana Disclose Act. Help spread the word, tell your friends about Stand With Montanans.


published Calendar 2012-02-21 11:15:00 -0700