An initiative seeking to limit big money in national politics probably will not receive enough signatures to make the November ballot, backers say.
Initiative 1329 would put Washington State on the record in favor of a constitutional amendment making it clear “corporations are not persons” and “money is not speech.” The measure is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in Citizens United and related cases, which have unleashed a blitz of spending by wealthy mega-donors.
But former Seattle City Councilman Jim Street said the signature gathering effort is running out of time and probably won’t make the fall ballot. To qualify, the I-1329 campaign would need to submit 246,372 valid signatures from registered Washington voters to the Secretary of State’s office by July 3.
“The all volunteer effort has been busting their butts to collect every signature they can. Right now it seems that the total collected will be between 150,000 and 200,000, which will fall short,” Street said in an email.
The campaign had earlier said it was seeking major financial backing for paid signature gathering. But that didn’t materialize.
Altogether, the I-1329 campaign raised about $75,000 and spent about $25,000, mostly on consultants and related expenses through the end of May, according to reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Street said backers may approach the Legislature to enact a similar resolution of support for a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics. “The fact that volunteers collected 150,000-200,000 signatures will be a positive story to bring to the Legislature,” he said.
Legislatures in more than a dozen states have approved anti-Citizens-United statements. Voters in Montana and Colorado approved initiatives backing the effort.
Amending the U.S. Constitution is a lengthy and difficult process, requiring a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states.