George Soros has selected Common Cause, and its spokesman, former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, as the leaders to oppose Article V. Their latest salvo is reproduced in full at the bottom of this post.
Soros-affiliated organizations stopped the Article V BBA Resolution in Montana two years ago, got Delaware to rescind in 2016 and Maryland and New Mexico to rescind this year. They, along with the John Birch Society, are our principal opponents. Strange bedfellows indeed.
Their press release contains some glaring errors, and my only hope is that some member of the media will look into their allegations. We can’t seem to get any publicity. Maybe they will get some for us. They say the BBA Task Force is “well funded”. We wish. We’re doing it on a wing and a prayer. They say we’re backed “by billionaires like the Koch brothers.” The Kochs, and no person or organization affiliated with them, has ever given us a dime. With the recent departure of our Executive Director, we’re an all volunteer force. None of us are paid. We get some of our expenses reimbursed, but all of us have made in-kind or other donations. Some have put in thousands of dollars, or, in the case of the original Co-founders, hundreds of thousands. Field Director Loren Enns has given up his job, his house and his car, and incurred substantial personal liability hiring lobbyists. Maybe if we can get a reporter interested, they could talk to Loren, and understand the truth.
It’s interesting to look at their list of 200 organizations. These people are supposedly horrified at Article V as a threat to the Constitution. But look at the list, beginning with the African-American Health Alliance, ending with the Women’s Voices Women’s Vote Action Fund. It contains the usual suspects, the Sierra Club, the NAACP, the NEA a lot of the unions, including the AFL-CIO. How many of these groups have ever shown any interest in the Constitution? None. But what almost all of them do have in common is a dependence on federal government money, in one form or another. They don’t care about the Constitution. They just want to see the federal dollars keep flowing.
Or, in some cases, like Soros himself, what they really don’t want is for the States to rediscover their powers, latent in Article V. That’s bigger than a balanced budget amendment. And that’s what they’re really afraid of. The States, if they act together, can supervise the federal government. And demanding a balanced budget could be just the beginning.
That might depend on Congress. If they learn a lesson from having a Balanced Budget Amendment imposed on them, maybe another Article V Amendment Convention wouldn’t be necessary. Article V is a way for the States to act when Congress won’t, or can’t. My belief is that it will be used more than once.
And that’s what George Soros is afraid of.
More Than 200 Organizations Oppose Calls for New Constitutional Convention, Warn of Dangers
As wealthy special interests groups increase their efforts, constitutional rights and public interest groups stand in opposition to an Article V convention that could rewrite the U.S. Constitution
Today 230 national, state, and local groups are releasing a letter in opposition to calls to convene a new constitutional convention. The letter comes as wealthy special interests groups are increasing their efforts to call a convention for the first time since 1787, and are now just six states away from reaching their goal.
The letter focuses on the threat of a “runaway convention,” where every American’s constitutional rights and protections could be at risk. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, a convention can be called when two-thirds of the states (34) petition for a convention to enact amendments to the constitution. Most legal scholars agree that all 34 applications must be on one issue, but once a convention is called anything could be brought up.
“A constitutional convention call, even on a single issue will become a Pandora’s box – once it’s open there will be no controlling where it goes, putting every Americans’ basic rights on the auction block,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The wealthy special interests who are funding this push do not share the best interest of the American people, and there are no rules to limit their influence on what could be brought up once a convention is convened. Legislatures should follow the lead of Delaware, New Mexico, and Maryland in rescinding their applications for an Article V convention to protect everyone’s constitutional rights.”
“A constitutional convention would wreak havoc in the country,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21. “It would open up the nation’s charter and all of the constitutional rights and protections it provides for the American people to fundamental change in a political environment of great divisiveness and polarization. Our first and only constitutional convention took place in 1787. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton will not be available to serve as delegates if a second constitutional convention is called. It needs to be prevented.”
“The implications of a Constitutional Convention are staggering,” saidRobert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Our country faces enough problems and division. We don’t need to add to them and inflame an already toxic political environment by placing at risk the constitutional structure that has served us well for more than two centuries — and heading into dangerous, unknown territory by calling a convention to rework the Constitution. Leading legal scholars from across the political spectrum agree that once convened, the scope of the convention in seeking to rewrite the Constitution could not be limited.”
Activists on both the left and the right have called for an Article V convention on different matters, but the risk of a runaway convention is the same regardless of the issue. There is currently a well-funded effort to call a convention to enact a federal balanced budget amendment (BBA), which claims to have active applications in 28 states. Although there has been bipartisan opposition to an Article V convention, the push for a convention on a BBA is being led by Republican legislators and conservative special interest groups bankrolled by billionaires like the Koch Brothers. A leader in the push to rewrite the Constitution is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate lobby that masquerades as a charity to provide its corporate backers with a tax break. Despite claims by ALEC and other convention proponents, most legal scholars agree that a convention cannot be limited to one issue. With no rules governing a convention, a runaway convention involving a major overhaul of the Constitution would likely result.
The letter, which is signed by diverse group of constitutional rights, labor, environmental, immigration, government reform, healthcare, and public interest groups, urges legislators to oppose calls for a constitutional convention and rescind Article V convention applications on the books in their state. In just the last two years, the legislatures in Delaware, New Mexico, and Maryland have successfully rescinded their previous Article V convention applications, including on the BBA. A similar effort is currently underway in Nevada.
To view the letter and a full list of the organizations signing on, click here.
To view this release online, click here.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.