Palm Beach County Commission balks at Citizens United fight

The Palm Beach County Commission has decided not to take on the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the commission opted not to lend its support to a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at reversing the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case.

That ruling enabled corporations, unions and other special interest groups to have unlimited spending on campaign advertising – essentially extending the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech rights guaranteed for individuals to corporations and other groups.

Commissioner Shelley Vana had proposed that the commission send a letter supporting the amendment proposed by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton. Deutch’s proposal calls for regulating the campaign spending of corporations.

Instead, the commission as a whole opted to stay out of the national issue. Individual commissioners can still send letters on their own behalf.

“I don’t think this is the proper venue,” Commissioner Hal Valeche said about the potential for commissioners to wade into the national political debate. Valeche called the proposed amendment “anti-business.”

Vana said she was OK with commissioners just sending individual letters if they support the amendment. Vana said she supports “full disclosure” when it comes to the campaign spending, including money from corporations.

The County Commission has chimed in on national issues in the past. In 2009, the commission supported the creation of a national health-care plan that guarantees coverage for people without private insurance.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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