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The Leagues of Women Voters in Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Northfield, Kenilworth, Deerfield, Glenview, Glencoe, Highland Park and Highwood recently joined together to participate in the national League of Women Voters “Money in Politics” study. Lynn Goldschmidt of Glencoe and Carolyn Coukos of Glenview, both attorneys, are co-chairs of the Northshore study group.
“Questions about the role of money in politics have become a central issue in our democracy, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision,” said Ms. Goldschmidt. “This decision prompted the League to study the underlying policy issues.”
The League’s “Money in Politics” advocacy position pre-dates Citizens United, which held that corporations have a free speech right to make unlimited expenditures to support or oppose political candidates. Ms. Coukos said, “Today’s Super PACs, which have become a dominant force in national political campaigns, are a direct result of Citizens United.”
The League’s current position on “Money in Politics,” adopted in 1974 and revised in 1982, holds that methods of financing political campaigns should (1) ensure the public’s right to know; (2) combat corruption and undue influence; (3) enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office; and (4) allow maximum citizen participation in the political process. This position will be updated based on League members’ consensus on the extent to which political campaign spending should be considered protected speech under the First Amendment.
The North Shore Leagues’ “Money in Politics” study is part of a national consensus process, which Ms. Coukos described as a “grass roots process,” explaining that “all of the League’s advocacy positions arise from a bottom up consensus process like this one.”
After two months of study, the North Shore Leagues will present their findings at a meeting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9 at the Takiff Center, 999 Green Bay Road, Glencoe. The study findings will present both sides of the topic questions. The public is invited to attend. Each League will hold a consensus meeting, the results of which will be sent to the National League. A national position will be developed from the consensuses of local Leagues from across the nation. More information about the study is available at LWVUS.org.