Hawaii Senate passes Free and Fair Elections Resolution

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The Hawaii State Senate has taken a large step toward ending campaign finance corruption.

On March 19, the state Senate passed the Senate Concurrent Resolution 131 (SCR 131), also known as The Free and Fair Elections Resolution. This resolution is a part of a larger strategy spearheaded by the Wolf-PAC, a bipartisan political action committee, to call a limited convention under Article V, and propose a 28th amendment to the constitution: The Free and Fair Elections Amendment.

“The Article V convention route for proposing amendments was our founders' safeguard for representative democracy in case our federal government ever became unresponsive to the people,” the Wolf-PAC website states. “Since the supreme court has taken a wrecking ball to the wall of separation between wealth and state and Congress has been complicit, we are pursuing a Free and Fair Elections Amendment via the state-based convention route.”

Members of Wolf-PAC are concerned about the influence that private-interest groups that donate massive amounts of money to candidates in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have on federal legislation. The OpenSecrets website shows that in 2018, oil and gas-affiliated groups and individuals donated $27,693,647 to candidates running for Congress alone; of that, $4,884,247 went to Democrats, and $22,764,391 went to Republicans.

“Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections,” said SCOTUSblog.com under the holding for Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. “While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.”

Hawaii will join five other states that have already passed the resolution if the Hawaii State House of Representatives successfully passes SCR 131.

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