New Group Seeks End to 'Dark Money'

Ken Chestek, chairman of Wyoming Promise. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Ken Chestek, chairman of Wyoming Promise. (Photo by Pat Blair)

A recently formed citizens group is seeking to end what members see as a growing problem of so-called dark money used to influence members of Congress.

Ken Chestek, who's chairman of the organization, called Wyoming Promise, talked about the issues in a meeting Thursday night at the Sheridan Fulmer Public Library. In an interview with Sheridan Media before the meeting, he explained what dark money is.

Chestek said the problem of money in politics has become more acute since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. He said that left us stuck in two bad metaphors, one that corporations are people and the other that money is speech.

Wyoming Promise is seeking an overturn of the Supreme Court decision by circulating petitions calling for an initiative to be placed on the November 2018 ballot that would amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not people and that money isn't speech.

Two copies of the petition were available for people to sign Thursday night. Chestek said to date, 19 states have enacted measures calling on Congress to propose an amendment overturning the Citizens United decision.

The Wyoming petition calls on Congress to act, but it also calls for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution if Congress doesn't act. Chestek, who's a University of Wyoming law professor, said dark money is the defining issue of our time.

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Chestek checks his notes before the program starts. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Chestek checks his notes before the program starts. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Part of Thursday night's audience. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Part of Thursday night's audience. (Photo by Pat Blair)
SheridanWyoming.com

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