Ben Cohen, a co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, will be on campus Monday, May 19 from noon to 2 p.m. giving away free ice cream in support of Initiative-1329 outside the Student Union Building, Building 27.
Ben Cohen and his ice cream truck are sponsored by the local political organization Olympia-Move-To-Amend. The organization is working to collect petition signatures to put Initiative-1329 on the ballot for Washington state in November.
Initiative-1329 is addressing corporations and other legal entities having the same rights as humans protected under the United States Constitution, including free speech. This has made the financing of political contributions and expenditures to campaigns by these entities protected by the Constitution under free speech and the actions are not as regulated as before recent court cases.
US Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) and McCutcheon v. FEC (2014) have recently struck down major portions of the federal laws under the principle that money as campaign spending is free speech.
The measure’s purpose, as stated in its 30-word description on the official petition, is to “urge Washington’s Congressional delegation to propose amending the Constitution to clarify that Constitutional rights apply to natural persons not corporations and to authorize greater regulation of political contributions and expenditures.”
Olympia-Move-To-Amend chairperson, Michael Savoca organized the event on campus to raise awareness and support of Initiative-1329. He said he believes that the flood of political campaign money by both major parties is drowning out the voice of the middle class and risks political corruption.
16 states have already passed initiatives or laws similar to that proposed in Washington state’s Initiative-1329.
Savoca supports the measure “because evidence shows it will return political power back to the middle class.” He believes that access and influence are two real issues that have become financially out of reach for the average American.