Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 106

02/14/2012 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 190 PFD ALLOWABLE ABSENCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 190(STA) Out of Committee
*+ HJR 33 AMEND U.S. CONST RE CAMPAIGN MONEY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           HJR 33-AMEND U.S. CONST RE CAMPAIGN MONEY                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:46:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the final order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 33, Urging  the United States  Congress and                                                               
the  President  of  the  United  States  to  work  to  amend  the                                                               
Constitution  of  the  United States  to  prohibit  corporations,                                                               
unions,  and   individuals  from  making   unlimited  independent                                                               
expenditures  supporting   or  opposing  candidates   for  public                                                               
office.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:46:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA, Alaska  State Legislature, presented HJR                                                               
33 as sponsor.  He stated  that elections should be decided based                                                               
on ideas and  how hard a candidate works; however,  he said since                                                               
[the U.S.  Supreme Court  ruling on]  Citizens United  v. Federal                                                             
Election  Commission,  180S.  Ct.876(2010)  ("Citizens  United"),                                                           
elections have  been influenced more  and more by  outside money.                                                               
He said Citizens United affects  independent expenditures - money                                                             
"not coordinated  with a  candidate" but spent  in support  of or                                                               
opposition to  a candidate.   He gave  examples of large  sums of                                                               
money being  given by individuals  and corporations  to influence                                                               
the outcome  of elections.   Representative Gara said  there used                                                               
to   be  limits   on  campaign   contributions  and   independent                                                               
expenditures, but currently the  following is allowed:  unlimited                                                               
independent expenditures  from corporations, unions,  and groups,                                                               
and unlimited political expenditures from outside groups.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA said  the intent of HJR 33 is  to rally other                                                               
states   to  pass   resolutions   for  Congress   to  propose   a                                                               
constitutional amendment  to place a  limit on outside  money, so                                                               
that people  will have a  clearer voice on  the local level.   He                                                               
said the amount  of money spent on  independent expenditures rose                                                               
from $37 million in 2006 to $210 million in 2010.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:50:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  offered his  understanding that there  is a  limit to                                                               
what an  individual and  a political  action committee  (PAC) may                                                               
contribute to  his campaign, but no  limit to what a  "super PAC"                                                               
may contribute [in support of or in opposition to an issue].                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said that is  right.  He said  candidates in                                                               
Alaska have a little more  protection because the State of Alaska                                                               
passed a disclosure law a couple of years ago.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN offered his understanding  that the state's disclosure                                                               
law requires  the name of the  top three contributors in  a super                                                               
PAC  to be  disclosed.   He remarked  that no  matter how  good a                                                               
candidate's  campaign,  a  million  dollars  spent  against  that                                                               
campaign can end it.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   said  that   is  true.     He   said  more                                                               
importantly,  people  are  represented  in Congress  on  the  big                                                               
issues of  the nation, and  when people are allowed  to influence                                                               
elections with unlimited  money, "the money decides  who wins the                                                               
elections."   He  reiterated that  a  campaign should  be won  by                                                               
ideas rather than by money.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:53:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA,   in   response  to   Chair   Lynn,   said                                                               
individuals, corporations, unions,  and environmental groups, and                                                               
other  interest   groups  are  now  allowed   to  make  unlimited                                                               
independent  expenditures.    He  explained that  the  court  now                                                               
considers groups to be persons  and has decided that the campaign                                                               
contributions of  individuals cannot  be limited.   He  said, "If                                                               
all 50 states  have some different idea on how  they should limit                                                               
the amount of  money, it will still send the  message to Congress                                                               
that the amount of money has gone out of control."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:56:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  in response to Representative  Keller, said                                                               
prior to Citizens  United, corporations and unions  in Alaska and                                                             
many other states  were limited on what they could  donate.  Also                                                               
prior  to Citizens  United, he  relayed,  there was  a ruling  in                                                             
Buckley  v. Vallejo,  in which  individuals could  make unlimited                                                             
contributions for  independent expenditures.  He  reiterated that                                                               
ideas, not  money, should be  the focus.   He opined  that people                                                               
should have their voice in the  political system.  In response to                                                               
Representative Keller, he said he  thinks that federal disclosure                                                               
requirements are  weak, but  they could  be stronger  if Congress                                                               
made  them so.    He  noted that  Congress  almost  passed a  law                                                               
similar to  the aforementioned disclosure  law of Alaska,  but it                                                               
failed by  one vote.   He said part  of the [U.S.  Supreme Court]                                                               
decision allowed  the government to require  disclosures, but the                                                               
level of government was not defined.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:58:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON said  there are  two issues  before the                                                               
committee:    free  speech  rights  and  [campaign  contribution]                                                               
limits.  She opined  that [HJR 33] is "a very  poor solution to a                                                               
very complex problem."   She said there are  other solutions, for                                                               
example,  asking all  the other  states  to "do  what Alaska  has                                                               
done."   She  indicated that  the  other options  could be  tried                                                               
rather than asking for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:00:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said requiring disclosure will  not stop the                                                               
flood of  money that comes  into the  political system.   He said                                                               
there is  no support in  the federal government for  a disclosure                                                               
law.   He stated that  the unlimited expenditure of  money cannot                                                               
be stopped without an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  ventured   that  any  advertising  is                                                               
considered negative by some and not  by others.  She talked about                                                               
targeting the media  to require them to state  only facts instead                                                               
of "slanting  things the way they  do."  She said,  "I just think                                                               
that this  is the wrong  way to go about  doing what you  want to                                                               
do."                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:02:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON directed  attention to  [page 2,  lines 8-                                                               
10], which read as follows:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          WHEREAS, while not addressed by the United States                                                                   
     Supreme  Court's ruling  in Citizens  United, unlimited                                                                    
     independent  expenditures  made   by  individuals  also                                                                    
     distort  the  political  process  and  ability  of  all                                                                    
     American   citizens  to   have   an   equal  voice   in                                                                    
     government;                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  corporations have  the sole  duty to                                                               
make  money; therefore,  their expenditures  are  based on  their                                                               
duty to shareholders,  which is a different matter  than the free                                                               
speech  of an  individual.   He  said he  is  concerned that  the                                                               
sponsor  has wrapped  these two  issues together.   He  asked the                                                               
bill sponsor if he has  considered excluding individuals from the                                                               
bill language.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:05:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  responded that  individuals were  allowed to                                                               
make unlimited independent expenditures based  on a case prior to                                                               
Citizens United.  He said  he understands Representative Seaton's                                                             
point, but  reemphasized that  money is  money, and  when someone                                                               
dumps  $5 to  $10 million  into  a campaign,  he/she makes  other                                                               
people's voices  small.  He  said he  would be thrilled  if group                                                               
and  corporation contributions  were  limited to  what they  were                                                               
prior  to Citizens  United, so  he  could accept  the removal  of                                                             
individuals, if that was the wish of the committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:06:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  pointed out that  the media is  owned by                                                               
corporations, and their  bottom line is to sell papers.   He said                                                               
he does  not agree  that "this  is an improper  way to  voice our                                                               
opinion," although he said he does not agree with it.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:09:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  directed attention  to language  on page                                                               
1, lines 6-8, which read as follows:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
          WHEREAS a vast majority of Americans recognize                                                                      
     that   the   influence   of  large   contributions   by                                                                    
     corporations,  wealthy  individuals, and  organizations                                                                    
     harms the ability  of average citizens to  have a voice                                                                    
     in their own government, and;                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  then pointed  to  language  on page  2,                                                               
lines 8-10, which read as follows:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          WHEREAS, while not addressed by the United States                                                                   
     Supreme  Court's ruling  in Citizens  United, unlimited                                                                    
     independent  expenditures  made   by  individuals  also                                                                    
     distort  the  political  process  and  ability  of  all                                                                    
     American   citizens  to   have   an   equal  voice   in                                                                    
     government;                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHANSEN   proffered  that   large   independent                                                               
expenditures do  not affect  his ability  to cast  his individual                                                               
vote.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:10:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA said  America  lives under  laws decided  by                                                               
U.S. Congress and  the President, and big money  put into special                                                               
interests  gets  the  attention  of Congress.    In  response  to                                                               
Representative Johansen, he said there is  a lot of money on both                                                               
sides of  the Pebble Mine issue,  but focus of HJR  33 is limited                                                               
to independent expenditures for or against candidates.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:11:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  explained that he brought  up the Pebble                                                               
Mine  advertising as  an  example of  millions  of dollars  being                                                               
spent  to  bombard   people  with  messages.     He  offered  his                                                               
understanding  that  the sponsor  is  saying  that this  kind  of                                                               
expenditure  overwhelms the  ability of  the individual  voter to                                                               
retain   his/her  single   perspective   and   "waters  down   an                                                               
individual's vote."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:14:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  asked  if   groups  like  the  American                                                               
Federation of Labor - Congress  of Industrial Organizations (AFL-                                                               
CIO)  and  the  National  Education Association  (NEA)  would  be                                                               
included under HJR 33.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA said  unions  would be  included, no  matter                                                               
their  ideology, because  large independent  expenditures distort                                                               
the political process.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:15:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN noted  that every  "WHEREAS" portion  of                                                             
the  proposed joint  resolution [that  mentions corporations  and                                                               
individuals]  also mentions  unions, with  the exception  of one:                                                               
the  first  "WHEREAS"  on  page   1,  lines  6-8  [text  provided                                                             
previously].   He  said he  would like  unions included  in every                                                               
"WHEREAS"  instead  of,  or  in   addition  to,  using  the  word                                                             
"organizations".                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA, in  response to  the chair,  said he  would                                                               
accept an amendment to that effect.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:17:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHANSEN  directed   attention  to   the  second                                                               
"WHEREAS", on page 1, lines 9-12, which read as follows:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          WHEREAS the narrow five to four decision of the                                                                     
     United  States  Supreme  Court in  Citizens  United  v.                                                                    
     Federal  Election Commission,  130 S.  Ct. 876  (2010),                                                                    
     allows  corporations  and   unions  to  make  unlimited                                                                    
     independent  expenditures  supporting   or  opposing  a                                                                    
     candidate for public office; and                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN said  he  would like  the word  "narrow"                                                               
removed,  because  he said  it  implies  "we're really  close  to                                                               
flipping it."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:18:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,  in   response  to  Representative  P.                                                               
Wilson's previous comment, explained  that the basis for Citizens                                                             
United was the First Amendment  to the U.S. Constitution, and the                                                             
only option that  could have an effect on that  decision would be                                                               
to  amend the  Bill of  Rights.   He further  commented that  the                                                               
media enjoys broad personal freedom.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:20:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  in response to Representative  Keller, said                                                               
he  looked for  information showing  what affect  Citizens United                                                             
has had on Alaska,  but was unable to compile them.   He said his                                                               
biggest concern is the national scene.  In response to a follow-                                                                
up  question, he  offered  his belief  that  [since the  Citizens                                                             
United decision,  he has seen more  independent expenditures made                                                             
in campaign fliers.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  said  he  thinks the  disclosure  at  the                                                               
bottom of flier is sufficient.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  pointed out  that it  is not  always apparent  by the                                                               
name on bottom of the flier who the people behind the name are.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER said  that is a good point.   He said there                                                               
are  "six  million  corporations  out there,"  and  he  expressed                                                               
concern that the proposed resolution would target them all.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:23:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON remarked that even  if the Constitution                                                               
is changed, newspaper corporations would  still be able to "slant                                                               
things"  without  spending  a  lot  of  money  to  do  so.    She                                                               
reiterated that she  thinks the proposed resolution  is the wrong                                                               
way to address the issue.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  talked about the  ability of  a newspaper to  put out                                                               
totally accurate information, but with a slant.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:24:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON noted that in both  the title of HJR 33 and                                                               
the  second  "WHEREAS"  portion  on  page  1,  lines  9-12  [text                                                             
provided   previously],  the   words,  "supporting   or  opposing                                                               
candidates  for public  office" appear;  however, those  words do                                                               
not appear in the "BE IT  RESOLVED" portion, on page 2, lines 11-                                                             
14, which read as follows:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature                                                                    
     urges the  United States Congress and  the President of                                                                    
     the  United  States  to  work  across  party  lines  to                                                                    
     propose   a   constitutional  amendment   to   prohibit                                                                    
     corporations,  unions,  and   individuals  from  making                                                                    
     unlimited independent expenditures.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON offered his  understanding that the sponsor                                                               
said  HJR 33  is addressing  expenditures supporting  or opposing                                                               
candidates for  office, not broad  topics or  "other expenditures                                                               
in the public arena."  He  said the resolve does not support that                                                               
idea,  and asked  the  bill  sponsor if  he  is comfortable  with                                                               
adding "supporting  or opposing candidates for  public office" in                                                               
the "BE IT RESOLVED" part of the joint resolution.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA said  he believes  "that's what  independent                                                               
expenditures means,"  but said he  would have no problem  if that                                                               
language was added.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:26:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON, regarding  the  language  on page  1,                                                               
lines  6-8 [text  provided previously],  said she  thinks stating                                                               
that "the  ability of average citizens  to have a voice  in their                                                               
own government"  would be harmed is  an insult.  She  opined that                                                               
the average citizen  is "smart enough to realize  what's going on                                                               
or, at least, to make ...  [his/her] own decision."  She said she                                                               
thinks the  average citizen has  a voice in government,  and what                                                               
"they" are doing does not change that.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  responded that  the only reason  that people                                                               
flood  the airways  with political  advertisements  is that  they                                                               
effectively influence  voters.  He said  he does not think  it is                                                               
derogatory to  say that most people  don't have the time  to look                                                               
into  all the  issues and,  thus, get  much of  their information                                                               
through  political advertisements.    He said  he  is not  always                                                               
happy  with the  media, but  thinks  that trying  to regulate  it                                                               
would cause trouble.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  LYNN  commented  that  many   people  will  vote  for  the                                                               
candidate they  last saw in  an advertisement  on the way  to the                                                               
polling place.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  posited  that  because  the  Citizens                                                             
United decision was made less than  two years ago, it is too soon                                                             
to make statements based on the effect of that decision.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:30:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA, in  response  to Representative  Gruenberg,                                                               
clarified  that the  definition  of  independent expenditures  is                                                               
"money  used by  an  outside  group to  help  elect  or defeat  a                                                               
candidate."  He said if the  committee chooses to add language to                                                               
the bill regarding money spent  on political issues, he would not                                                               
cause him  "a lot of heartache";  however, he said that  issue is                                                               
not what Citizens United was about.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested including "a  modifier phrase                                                               
to  refer to  political candidate  phrases," because  most people                                                               
will  not  understand  the  limited  definition  of  "independent                                                               
expenditure".                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:34:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced that he would begin public testimony.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:34:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT ERIC  SHAW, testifying  on behalf  of himself,  opined that                                                               
HJR 33  is a  step toward  ridding elections  of corruption.   He                                                               
said  it  is  clear  to  him  that  corporations  are  intangible                                                               
entities, not  persons, and that  money is property,  not speech.                                                               
He  offered his  understanding that  the U.S.  Supreme Court  has                                                               
"recommended that we do amend the First Amendment."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN asked  Mr. Shaw if he feels  the same way                                                               
about unions and environmental groups as he does corporations.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHAW answered yes.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:36:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK KOIVISTO,  testifying on  behalf of himself,  stated that                                                               
he thinks the population of Alaska  is so low that [HJR 33] could                                                               
help the  state project the  voices of  Alaskans.  He  echoed the                                                               
remarks  of the  sponsor regarding  the  effect of  the media  on                                                               
votes.   He indicated  that media influenced  the outcome  of the                                                               
past election race between Scott  Adams and now U.S. Senator Lisa                                                               
Murkowski.     He  opined   that  removing   "individuals"  would                                                               
undermine the proposed joint resolution.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:38:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBYN LAUSTER  testified on  behalf of  Move to  Amend Anchorage.                                                               
She stated  that since the  Citizens United decision,  the volume                                                             
of advertisements  paid for  by outside  groups has  increased by                                                               
over 1,600 percent,  and the spending on  those advertisements by                                                               
those groups  has increased  by nearly 1,300  percent.   She said                                                               
super-PACs,  corporations,   unions,  and   individuals  spending                                                               
nearly unlimited  funds on  elections skew  the results  of those                                                               
elections and undermine democracy.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAUSTER said this issue  is non-partisan; it is about [trying                                                               
to have]  a fair elections system.   She said advertising  is not                                                               
always  truthful.   She stated  that  without a  reversal of  the                                                               
Citizens  United  ruling, it  will  be  impossible to  pass  laws                                                             
regulating elections  to correct  these injustices.   She posited                                                               
that by law,  corporations are required to put  their bottom line                                                               
first,  which means  they  probably do  not  consider the  public                                                               
good.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAUSTER said she believes in  a government "of the people, by                                                               
the  people, and  for the  people." She  stated that  the current                                                               
situation  of  corporate  personhood  granted by  the  court  has                                                               
positioned  government-created  entities  to have  greater  power                                                               
than the sovereign citizens of the  U.S., and an amendment to the                                                               
U.S.  Constitution  is  necessary.     She  said  Move  to  Amend                                                               
Anchorage  supports HJR  33 and  urges the  committee to  move it                                                               
out.   She noted  that she  had brought  a letter  [dated 2/9/12,                                                               
included in  the committee packet]  in support of HJR  33, signed                                                               
by twelve [Move to Amend Anchorage] members.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:40:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT BUCH,  noted that  he was a  former representative  in the                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature.   He  indicated that  the impetus  for                                                               
Citizens United started  in the 1800s, and what  began then ended                                                             
with  corporations being  determined to  secure protection  under                                                               
the First Amendment.   He relayed another result  of the Citizens                                                             
United  decision  was  that   independent  expenditures  are  now                                                             
protected  under the  First Amendment;  therefore,  money is  now                                                               
"equated to  free speech."  In  response to a previous  remark by                                                               
Representative  P. Wilson,  he said  there are  other methods  to                                                               
address this issue  being considered by some  states; however, he                                                               
said  he  thinks  HJR  33  is an  appropriate  vehicle  to  bring                                                               
information to the public.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUCH quoted  a book entitled, The Road to  the Whitehouse, as                                                             
follows:  "Ninety-four percent of  those with the most money were                                                               
elected to  the U.S. Senate  and the  U.S. Congress."   He stated                                                               
that when only those with money  are elected to office, then "all                                                               
of us" are  subject to where that  money is directed.   He said a                                                               
great  many people  in the  country are  dissatisfied.   Mr. Buch                                                               
stated  that  corporations  are  not people  -  they  don't  have                                                               
feelings  -  but  they  have  been  given  an  unlimited  way  to                                                               
influence elections.  He said,  for example, that Mitt Romney and                                                               
Rick Santorum  each have a  key person backing  them financially.                                                               
He  said this  issue  is  not one-sided;  both  parties "will  be                                                               
taking  advantage of  this" and  "those in  the middle  class are                                                               
being crushed."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUCH  relayed that  a web  site, opensecrets.org,  shows that                                                               
corporate    political    contributions     in    2012    totaled                                                               
$1,317,977,729,  whereas [contributions  made by]  unions totaled                                                               
less than 10  percent of that amount, at $92,355.686.   He stated                                                               
that  unions have  the same  ability, but  do not  have the  same                                                               
availability  of   cash  as   corporations  do;   therefore,  the                                                               
influence of unions is not as  great as that of corporations.  In                                                               
response to  a question from the  chair, he confirmed that  he is                                                               
part of Move to Amend Anchorage.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER said  he does  not agree  with Mr.  Buch's                                                               
comment that  corporations have  been given  an unlimited  way to                                                               
influence.  He indicated that could  be true only if one presumes                                                               
that voters are  "too dumb to be  able to follow the  money."  He                                                               
said there are disclosure laws in place.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:47:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUCH asked Representative Keller  to consider what the public                                                               
is supposed  to learn  if only one  view is put  forth.   He said                                                               
that is what  is happening.  He said this  issue affects federal,                                                               
state, and local elections.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:49:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUCH, in response to  Representative Johansen, indicated that                                                               
he does  not know who  funds opensecrets.org.   In response  to a                                                               
follow-up  question, he  said there  is  no measure  of what  the                                                               
advertising  represents; "they"  are not  held to  any standards.                                                               
The public may  or may not be  aware of that, but  they are still                                                               
influenced by that advertising.   In response to a final question                                                               
from Representative  Johansen, he  said he does  not discriminate                                                               
between one corporation and another.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:52:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINA MOUNCE  testified on  behalf of  Move to  Amend Juneau.                                                               
She  explained that  there are  many  chapters of  Move to  Amend                                                               
around the  state, as well  as across the  nation.  She  said the                                                               
mission of  Move to Amend  is to  amend the U.S.  Constitution to                                                               
limit the  amount of money  corporations can spend  on elections.                                                               
Currently,  she  said, the  political  climate  is one  in  which                                                               
voters  are  bombarded  by  commercials  and  advertising  either                                                               
supporting one candidate or putting  down another.  Following the                                                               
Citizens  United decision,  she  related, nearly  $4 billion  was                                                             
spent   during  the   2010  Congressional   Election,  completely                                                               
eclipsing  the $1  billion  spent prior  to  the Citizens  United                                                               
decision.    She  reported  that  according  to  the  Center  For                                                               
Responsible  Politics, in  the congressional  races of  2010, the                                                               
candidates who  spent the  most money on  their campaigns  won 85                                                               
percent of  the House seats and  83 percent of the  Senate seats.                                                               
She  said Citizens  United has  given politicians  with the  most                                                             
corporate support the  upper hand in elections.   She said anyone                                                               
can vote  and anyone can  run for office; however,  currently the                                                               
playing field  is not even.   She stated, "By  allowing unlimited                                                               
campaign  contributions,  the  political system  has  essentially                                                               
been rigged  against hard working  Americans who can't  afford to                                                               
compete  with for-profit  corporations, unions,  special interest                                                               
groups, and wealthy individuals."   She said passing HJR 33 would                                                               
show  Alaska to  be a  state whose  representatives support  fair                                                               
campaigns  and   are  dedicated   to  representing   the  average                                                               
American.     In  response  to   Chair  Lynn,  she   offered  her                                                               
understanding that  there is no  one organizational  force behind                                                               
the Move  to Amend groups.   She said she organizes  the group in                                                               
Juneau.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:56:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICE  LEE, testifying  on behalf  of herself,  said she  would                                                               
like the  committee to not  get bogged down by  details regarding                                                               
what "average citizen" means and  how much influence media has or                                                               
does not have.  She said  the endless amount of money being spent                                                               
could be put to better  use supporting hospitals and schools, for                                                               
example.    She said,  "I'd  just  like to  see  us  get back  to                                                               
something that makes more sense."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:58:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY HURLOCK testified on behalf  of the Hurlock Family Trust in                                                               
support  of HJR  33.   He  said he  thinks  harm is  done to  the                                                               
investor  in his/her  role  as a  citizen.   He  said he  expects                                                               
investors  to  spend their  time  on  production, promotion,  and                                                               
distribution,  not to  act as  proxy on  matters of  governmental                                                               
sovereignty, especially because  modern corporations are "captive                                                               
of  management due  to  dilution of  the  ownership of  corporate                                                               
stock and shares."   He said it bothers him  that large companies                                                               
are  able  to hide  expenditures  from  their shareholders.    He                                                               
quoted  U.S. Supreme  Court Justice  Anthony Kennedy  as stating,                                                               
"Shareholders can  determine whether the  corporation's political                                                               
speech advances  the corporation's  interest in  making profits."                                                               
He used  Archer Daniels  Midland Company (ADM)  as an  example of                                                               
disclosure.   He mentioned a  shareholder proposal and  read from                                                               
the ADM Board's "proxy against the resolution" as follows:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
      In addition to the disclosures mandated by law, ADM                                                                       
       voluntarily reports the aggregate amounts of ADM's                                                                       
     contribution to political parties and candidates.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. HURLOCK  said disclosures are  hidden in the  aggregate; they                                                               
are hidden  in plain view.   He said the average  person does not                                                               
know what  his/her company  spends on  anything.   He said  he is                                                               
competent on the computer, but  after 15 minutes searching, could                                                               
not find  aggregate disclosure on  ADM's web  site.  He  said, "I                                                               
find this very objectionable in my role as a citizen investor."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:03:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  offered his  understanding that  Move to                                                               
Amend is a  group, which is narrowly focused on  making the point                                                               
that corporations  can make unlimited  expenditures, and  it does                                                               
not address  any other  part of  the ruling  by the  U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:03:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said Mr. Hurlock  has "hit the  nail on                                                               
the head," and he said he would  like him to come back before the                                                               
committee the next time HJR 33 is heard.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:04:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[HJR 33 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
15 HB190SS-DOR-PFD-02-07-12.pdf HSTA 2/14/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 190
16 HB 190 Ten Year Numbers Memo.pdf HSTA 2/14/2012 8:00:00 AM
SSTA 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 190