Council Approves Referendum on ‘Citizens United’

The Evanston city council voted unanimously to approve an advisory referendum on corporate campaign contributions that will appear on the November ballot.

Evanston aldermen voted to approve an advisory referendum on limitations to corporate political contributions, which will appear on the November ballot.

The city council voted 6-0 to approve the referendum at a special meeting Thursday night, according to city manager Wally Bobkiewicz. Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and aldermen Judy Fiske (1st Ward), Peter Braithwaite (2nd Ward) and Donald Wilson (4th Ward) were absent. 

The council's vote comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in May. The court held that placing limits on corporate donations to political entities was an infringement of free speech.  

Suggested by Ald. Coleen Burrus, the referendum will ask voters whether Congress should pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing state and federal governments to restrict those sorts of donations.

Thursday night’s meeting, which was held at the  , took just 11 minutes, according to Bobkiewicz. Two public speakers asked why aldermen wanted to put the referendum on the ballot, but no one spoke up for or against it, he said.

State law requires local governments to approve referenda within 79 days of the next election in order to get it on the ballot. To put this referendum on the Nov. 6, 2012, ballot, aldermen had to adopt the legislation by Monday, Aug. 20. 

The city council has already taken a stand on Citizen’s United. In May, aldermen adopted a resolution expressing opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case. 

The resolution will appear on the ballot as follows: “Shall the U.S. Congress pass a bill, to be duly ratified by three-fourths (¾) of the states, adopting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, empowering the federal government and the states to regulate and limit political contributions from corporations?”


Pete Morich August 23, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Thanks City Council!! This is making a real difference in the lives of Evanston residents. I will feel better knowing Evanston thinks the manufacturer of the weapon being pointed at me as I am relieved of my possessions should not being giving $$ to politicians. How about the City Council call the police department to the carpet for the rash of criminal activity sweeping our community? No, that would mean actual work...better that you hold 11 minute meetings passing paper resolutions.
mij August 25, 2012 at 02:39 AM
This is a fine idea. It will make Evanston safer


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