August 2015 Newsletter

by | Aug 18, 2015 | AVC Newsletter

  • The Supreme Court Has Trampled Article V
  • Associated Press Story Highlights Article V ‘Buzz’
  • Presidential Contenders Not Addressing Debt Problems Enough
  • Debt Is Besetting More Governments
  • CBO Director Says U.S. Debt Ratio Hitting a New High
  • Article V Issues Prominent at ALEC Convention
  • Suggested Rules for a Convention of States Unveiled
  • CoS Taps Bob Berry to be Regional Director
  • ‘Supply Side’ BBA Proposed

Supreme Court Has Trampled Article V –
An August 12 article by Dana D. Kelley on ArkansasOnline (affiliated with the Arkansas Democrat- Gazette) pointed out that the recent Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage did more than wipe out many state laws and state constitutional provisions.

Regardless where one stands on the subject of the decision, as the writer points out, “the Court essentially amended the Constitution… and brazenly circumvented the process established by the framers.”

Kelly notes that popular issues like the women’s right to vote and voting rights for 18-year-olds who were being sent off to fight wars were brought about by legitimate constitutional amendments… even though in those earlier days appeals were brought to the Supreme Court to create those rights.

About the recent Supreme Court decision the writer asks, “If Article V can be so casually trodden down, with apathy as the main public response (despite some exceptionally erudite dissents), how safe can other articles and sections (of the Constitution) be?”

Read Dana Kelly’s entire article HERE.

AP Story Highlights Article V ‘Buzz’ –
On August 10 Associated Press writer Will Weissert produced a nationally syndicated story about Article V activity around the country.  His piece, “Constitutional convention sparkling buzz, but odds still long” had some factual errors, and repeatedly used the wrong name for an Article V convention, but in view of its wide distribution will likely raise the awareness of the Article V process across the country.

The story gave reference to the Convention of States (CoS), Compact for America (CfA), and the BBA Task Force (BBATF) campaigns.  It also referenced the WolfPAC campaign, but unfortunately he inaccurately implied that that drive is part of the other three campaigns.  But he did point out that “Every state except Vermont has a legal requirement for a balanced budget, but Congress does not”.

One example of how the Associated Press story was used can be read HERE.

Presidential Contenders Not Addressing National Debt Enough –
The August 6 GOP Presidential Debates included 17 participants.  Most of them alluded to out-of-control federal spending and debt-growth.  But during the debate and follow-up interviews, only John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Dr. Ben Carlson, Rand Paul and Rick Perry mentioned anything about supporting a balanced budget amendment to the constitution via an Article V convention of states.

In a July 23 theTownTalk blog (an affiliate of USA Today) former U. S. Senator Tom Colburn talked about the GOP Presidential aspirants and said: “… none of them is addressing in a meaningful way the greatest threat to our republic: our gigantic and rapidly growing national debt.

Colburn, an advocate for using the tools in Article V went on to say: “… the federal government’s unfunded liabilities (future expenditures minus future tax revenue) now exceed a whopping $127 trillion — better than $1.1 million per taxpayer. That’s not merely unsustainable; it’s suicidal.”  See Senator Colburn’s remarks HERE.

Meanwhile, the August 12 edition of The Washington Times reports that Citizens for Self-Governance (affiliated with the CoS movement) will launch a major radio advertising push later this month to force the topic into the GOP presidential conversation.  See that article HERE.

Debt Besetting More Governments –
During August the government of Puerto Rico made it official: they cannot pay their $72 billion in accumulated public debt.  Moody’s Investor Service said that Puerto Rico’s missed debt payments are the first in what it believes will be broad defaults on the commonwealth’s debt.

As Puerto Rico officials made their announcement, Greece was beginning to deal with the realities of their excessive debt.  Ambulances stopped running, banks closed for several days, ATMs limited withdrawals, and unemployment climbed further.

Meanwhile on July 28 the Washington DC-based Peterson Foundation released a report entitled “Nation’s Fiscal Outlook Remains Top Concern for Overwhelming Majority of Americans”.  The report noted that “More than eight in ten voters want the President and Congress to spend more time addressing our nation’s fiscal future.”

See the Peterson report HERE, and their Consumer Confidence Index HERE.

American Debt-to-GDP Ratio Hits New High –
During July Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall testified before the U. S. Senate.  He warned that the publicly held debt of the U.S. government, when measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product GDP), is headed toward a level the United States has seen only once in its history—at the end of World War II.

According to a report, Hall stated “To simply contain the debt at the high historical level where it currently sits—74 percent of GDP–would require either significant increases in federal tax revenue or decreases in non-interest federal spending (or a combination of the two).”

The CBO Director reported that his office “estimates that the U.S. government debt held by the public will be 74 percent of GDP (before the end of 2015). That is higher than the 69-percent-of-GDP debt the U.S. government had in 1943—the second year after Pearl Harbor.”

The entire extensive report can be read HERE.

Article V Issues Prominent at ALEC Convention –
July 21 through 24 state legislators from around the country gathered in San Diego for the 42nd Annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting.  Numerous speakers, workshops and task force meetings included content about the various current Article V efforts.

The three primary Article V movements (Convention of States, BBA Task Force and Compact for America) were well represented with booths and special sessions.  Even in the hallways discussions could be heard about how states can use Article V to strengthen federalism.

At one session, upon the invitation of Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, a group of state legislators met to discuss ways to counter concerns about a possible runaway Article convention.  U. S. House Judicial Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Georgia Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert also addressed the group.  By way of a unanimously adopted resolution, the group of legislators committed to support a rule specifying that at an Article V convention each state would have one vote, and that delegates would be limited to discuss just one topic – a balanced budget amendment.

During the ALEC confab MIRS (Michigan Business News Network), Publisher John Reurink, conducted an on-line interview of David Biddulph, Co-Founder of the BBA Task Force.  That interview can be heard HERE.

The next major ALEC event will be December 2 – 4 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  That will be a “States & Nation Policy Summit”.

CoS Unveils Suggested Rules for a Convention of States –
Under what rules will an Article V convention of states operate?  That question has been asked repeatedly.  A year and a half ago a large group of state legislators formed what has become the Assembly of State Legislatures for the primary purpose of coming up with suggested rules and procedures for an Article V convention.

The Assembly is composed exclusively of currently-serving state legislators.  While some leaders of that group report that their committees have produced a draft of such rules, they have yet to be formally adopted by that group, so they are still a secret.  They have scheduled a meeting in Salt Lake City for November 11 – 13 where they plan to release their recommendations and seek adoption by the full group.

However, the folks at the Convention of States are a step ahead of the Assembly.  At the July ALEC meeting the CoS team revealed their own set of 24 “Proposed Rules”, prepared primarily by Professor Rob Natelson (heavily based on the rules used in prior interstate conventions).  They even created a special web site, accessible only by state legislators, where they can go in and suggest changes.

For Internet access to the CoS proposed rules, click HERE.

CoS Appoints Bob Berry as Regional Director –
The Convention of States (CoS) folks have appointed Colorado resident Bob Berry as one of their new Regional Directors.  Berry will oversee CoS efforts in four Rocky Mountain states and in five “priority” states – Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

Berry has been active in Article V efforts for the past 2+ years.  He even authored two e-books on the subject – “Amendments Without Congress: A Timely Gift From the Founders” and “Constitutional Coup: America’s New Lease on Liberty”.  He says his job is “to grow the CoS army”, aiming to attract 100 grassroots supporters in every state legislative district where he will be working.  Berry can be reached at

Colorado CoS State Director Ron Scott has announced that he plans to organize a “mock” Article V convention of states, using the recently-held Florida mock convention as a model.  While a firm date has yet to be set, he expects the event to be held during November.  He hopes to have citizen “delegates” participate from all 50 states.

Scott can be reached at 719-482-5997,

‘Supply Side’ BBA Proposed –
Former Alaska state legislator, lawyer and BBA activist Fritz Pettyjohn has begun floating an idea for “a Supply Side BBA”.  The Compact for America campaign is the only BBA-related movement that has proposed specific wording for a possible BBA.  The other BBA-related movements have focused on getting sufficient legislative support to assure that an Article V convention actually happens.  They believe that once assembled, the delegates will construct the actual proposal.

Most Article V activists envision that a BBA will restrict federal spending and reduce debt over a period of time.  While this expected reduction in spending likely would cut and/or modify federal programs (social and otherwise), Pettyjohn thinks the content of a BBA needs to also focus on enhancing the revenue side of the equation.

Increased taxes could generate additional revenue, but most economists believe that would end up being counterproductive.  Pettyjohn (and many others) believes that “Constitutional regulatory reform would cause a huge explosion of economic activity and tax revenue”.  He also believes that the transfer of federal BLM and Forest Service lands in the western states to those states would both significantly reduce federal management expenses, and generate new revenue back to the federal government through a revenue-sharing agreement with the states.

Pettyjohn hopes the ultimately proposed balanced budget amendment will include these “supply side” elements.  He also hopes the amendment will include a requirement that the nation switch from its current, excessively-complex income tax system, to a consumption tax system.

To learn more about Pettyjohn’s supply side BBA ideas and proposals, contact him at 209-533-2386,  or visit his blog at

On another topic (the claimed risks of a runaway convention), an article by Mr. Pettyjohn appeared in the July 30 edition of American Thinker.  See it HERE.

Professor Rob Natelson has also written an update paper on this topic: “Runaway Convention” Nonsense—One More Time”.  Find it HERE.

Getting Legislative agreement to apply for
an Article V convention of states is not easy, but:

Benjamin Franklin observed –
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”