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Oak Harbor group protests Supreme Court ruling

A dog joins 20-something protesters at the corner of Highway 20 and Pioneer Way Saturday to show their outrage at a Supreme Court decision that eliminated a cap on political campaign donations. - Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times
A dog joins 20-something protesters at the corner of Highway 20 and Pioneer Way Saturday to show their outrage at a Supreme Court decision that eliminated a cap on political campaign donations.
— image credit: Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times

"Supreme Court? Bite me!”

Anyone driving in Oak Harbor along Highway 20 and Pioneer Way Saturday afternoon might have noticed a little dog carrying a neon-green sign with the rather biting message.

About 20 people, and the pooch, were taking part in a nationwide effort ultimately aimed at controlling the money in politics.

The members of the sign-waving group said they hoped to raise awareness about Initiative 1329, a ballot initiative that could lead to a constitutional amendment clarifying that constitutional rights extend to humans only, not corporations.

Activists in states across the nation are trying to pass similar measures.

I-1329 would also allow federal, state and local governments to regulate political contributions and make all political contributions and expenditures public.

Kim Jordan, an I-1329 field leader in Island, Skagit, Whatcom and San Juan counties, helped lead the awareness campaign on Saturday.

“We have got over 300 volunteers just in these counties going out there and collecting signatures,” Jordan said.

She added that there are more than 2,000 volunteers in Washington collecting signatures for this ballot initiative.

But the gathering on Saturday wasn’t just about I-1329. It was organized in response to last week’s Supreme court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, which eliminated the aggregate cap for political campaign donations.

“I want to be able to say that my vote means something,” said Pam Fick, who attended the gathering. “And if a corporation is allowed to throw in as much money as they want, they take the meaning out of our vote.”

Previously, aggregate caps allowed wealthy donors to give a maximum of $123,200, according to Marshall Goldberg, who was a part of Saturday’s gathering.

“The more money that’s thrown into our political system by a few individuals, the less…voice the rest of us have,” Goldberg said.

Jordan said that the decision in this court case is one of the Supreme Court’s “tremendously irresponsible decisions.”

“If we care about our democracy, if we want one person one vote, not one dollar one vote, we’ve got to do something about this,” she said.

The gathering in Oak Harbor was held at noon on Saturday, and garnered many honks and waves from passing drivers, seemingly in support of I-1329. The hope was that others who did not know about it would be curious enough to look the initiative up.

“We’re here to at least raise their awareness, and make them think about what’s going on, and hopefully take action,” Goldberg said.

The groups from wamend.org who are trying to collect signatures have until June to get enough to make it onto the ballot.

“There are few things more worthwhile than fighting to preserve and protect our democracy,” said Goldberg.

 

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