Last week Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele used his veto powers to stop a local referendum on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to strengthen campaign finance restrictions in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. What’s really odd about Abele’s veto is the rationale he used to explain the veto, citing the extra cost associated with putting the referendum on the ballot, a cost Abele estimated to be between $25,000 and $40,000 (emphasis added).

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele used his veto Friday to attempt to stop — for the second time — a local referendum on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to beef up campaign finance restrictions.

He vetoed a November ballot question on whether county voters favored having the constitution explicitly say that only people, not corporations, have free speech rights and that money isn’t speech. The County Board approved the measure last month on a 13-5 vote.

The idea behind the change is to combat the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which gave corporations and unions the right to spend freely on political advertisements. Critics of that ruling have said it opened the door to unrestrained spending by wealthy interests, giving them an unfair advantage in elections.

Abele said he agreed with those critical of the ruling, but not the tactic of holding a referendum. The $25,000 to $40,000 it would cost to put the measure on the ballot would be better spent on county services, he said.

Reached for comment regarding Abele’s decision to veto the referendum, Abele Communications Director Brendan Conway noted that the $25,000 to $40,000 figure cited by Abele was reached by the County Comptroller’s office, as outlined in the Fiscal Note below.

Fiscal Note by BloggingBlue

While I certainly understand County Executive Abele’s desire to save money by not putting the referendum on the ballot, I believe that the voters of Milwaukee County want (and deserve) an opportunity to have their voices heard on the issue of corporations as people and campaign finance reform. A vote on the proposed referendum may be a symbolic gesture, but the last time I checked voters deserved an opportunity to voice their opinions and air their grievances, and as an employee of the citizens of Milwaukee County Chris Abele should heed their wishes, even if it does mean an extra cost to Milwaukee County (and a small one at that).

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7 Responses to Abele vetoes “Move to Amend” referendum citing extra cost

  1. Cat Kin says:

    When a Move To Amend referendum has been on the ballet in hundreds of cities across the United States, it has passed overwhelmingly with an average of 70% of the vote. I haven’t heard of a single case where it was voted down. This ia a true grass roots issue that is being resisted in many ways by the big money PACs in both parties. #movetoamend.org

  2. Grung_e_Gene says:

    That’s not the extra cost Abele is talking about. The cost he is referencing is thow Move to Amend will deprive the Plutocracy of the ability to steal Trillions of dollars from the American People.

  3. Jonathan Swift says:

    We need to elect a corporation to an office. That would force the courts to review the issue. Why not, the corps. already run the country.

    • nonquixote says:

      Conversely, immediately begin to legally prosecute ObombaLLC or WalkerLLC for failure in reporting make-up of Board membership, minutes, income, and dividends to investors as per existing regulations for corps.

      • Duane12 says:

        Hey guys and gals, what is all this talk about having a corpse able to assume office?

      • Cat Kin says:

        You emoprog guys driving on nitro can’t see the signs and are causing wreaks instead of reaching goals. Scalia has said repeatedly that “corporations are NOT people.” that the Citizen’s United decision did not make them so. These people are too smart to leave such an obvious opening to the public. Restrictions are still allowed but they must be adjudicated. This is the old story of consolidating power, and these people (the 1% and their minions) have been doing it for a long, long time.
        However our fight is gaining momentum and we have some strong legal minds on our side. Stay with Move To Amend, http://www.movetoamend.org, and keep it from falling in the hands of emoprog activity.

        • nonquixote says:

          Emo-Whats? Apparently it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for you to recognize light humor without a dozen smiley faces stuck to it.

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