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Posted on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

Washtenaw County activists form group to push back against corporate influence in elections

By Ryan J. Stanton

Political activists in Washtenaw County have announced the formation of a new group working to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United case.

The announcement comes as David Cobb, a former Green Party presidential candidate, is in town to give a speech about corporate influence in politics.

Among the founders of the new local group are Stuart Dowty, former chairman of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party, and Wes Vivian, a former U.S. Congressman.


Stuart Dowty

"The David Cobb speaking event tonight is the first of what is seen to be a long-term educational and advocacy program," Dowty said.

The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision held the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting political expenditures by corporations and unions and paved the way for Super PACs that can accept unlimited contributions.

Cobb is giving a talk called "Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule" at 7:30 p.m. today at the Pittsfield Township Administration Building, 6201 W. Michigan Ave.

Cobb is an organizer and national spokesman for, a coalition of more than 200,000 people and organizations whose goal is to amend the U.S. Constitution to push back against the influence of corporations in American politics.

"On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government," the group's website reads.

"We, the people of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights."

Local organizers of the movement have launched a Wordpress blog and are calling themselves Michiganders for Keeping Big Money Out Of Elections.

The group's first blog post claims the wealthy few have taken control of elections. It calls for citizens to unite to ban "big money" from elections and "let the people rule." It calls itself a nonpartisan working group and says all are welcome to participate.

Following tonight's talk, the group's next meeting takes place at 7:30 p.m. July 16 at the Pittsfield Township Administration Building.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

Right, let's shut out the conservatives and only allow the liberals to push their agenda. Once again, Ann Arbor wants to limit free speech if it doesn't promote their liberal agenda.


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 11:13 a.m.

Would like to know where their $$$$$$ is coming from ...just another wolf in sheeps can cover rust with paint but eventually it comes through...


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Now that's just silly, without the corporate individual's money how are the human voters ever going to learn what their favorite politicians have to say? Next thing ya know they'll probably want accurate vote counts and fair representation for them people individuals, too.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

gee wounder what they are doing in Washington. why not start there.. it is kind of late this has been going on for so many years. good luck on a cause that will not change.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

"Cobb is an organizer and national spokesman for, a coalition of more than 200,000 people and organizations..." That figure is highly implausible, Ryan. Your story should say "Cobb claims that...". There is no way that the remnants of the Green Party add up to that many people. The Huron Valley Greens Website, for instance, has shut down. Prior to that, the only issue they were heard about is antisemitism, which they enthusiastically espouse. As to being "non-partisan", that is absurd. The correct term is "out-of-the-mainstream". It is a disservice to present them as a legitimate political player.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Will they be pushing back against union influence in elections as well?

Top Cat

Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

Why don't they just say it...they hate speech they don't agree with, they are trying to shut it down and are opposed to free enterprise.


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Because that is not what they believe. Why put words in their mouths? Do you have to do that in order to create an idea you disagree with so now you can fight them? Why not listen to what they ACTUALLY say and respond to that?


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

"The group's first blog post claims the wealthy few have taken control of elections. It calls for citizens to unite to ban "big money" from elections and "let the people rule." Like Sarah Jessica Parker's $40,000.00 a plate dinner or George Clooney's $35,800 a plate dinner. or Joe Biden's talking about his non blue collar back ground! It founder's are "ALL DEMOCRATS", how is it Non-Partisan? "It calls itself a nonpartisan working group and says all are welcome to participate."


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

sorry I accidentally voted down, I agree with you 100%.


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

You would be free to join, XMO.


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Not to mention the amount of money George Soros is pumping into the Democratic party.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 4:54 p.m. Even though i agree with the topic of the speech, if it comes from a GREEN i doubt my own agreement since , per the above link, that party has shifted from it's once admirable environmental advocacy to downright antisemitism as a key platform , as illustrated by the synagogue harassing antics of its local leadershio depicted on the above thread link to its pro-Hamas past presidential candidate, cynthia Mckinney.

Martin Church

Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

Will you also keep funds out contributed by Unions, Lawyers and Non profits such as and the ACLU. If you are keeping some out of the political discussion you need to keep them all out. That includes the national media.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

Frustrating Alan, again... Martin's question and those organizations: Unions, Lawyers, Non-profits. Is it too hard to just write those in an answer or will they come to your house in the middle of the night?

alan haber

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

David Cobb was asked the question and answered "yes," absolutely. all corporate money out of politics. Elections are for individuals. Best is that elections be publicly financed, as in most civilized countries.


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Townie, truly insightful Koch info as KM has applauded. Now if you'd just respond to Martin's question...


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

@Townie, thank you. We should all know more about the activities of the Koch's.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

The Koch Brothers alone outspend the groups you mention by a factor of 10 (and that's only what we know about what they spend since a lot of it is hidden).