Monday, 03 February 2014 10:25

Compact for America Proposal Could Increase Federal Power

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On Friday, January 31, Chip DeMoss, president and CEO of the Compact for America, Inc., e-mailed a letter to “Supporters of Compact for America” announcing a series of articles the group would be publishing in the coming weeks.

Although he admits that with regard to Congress’ addiction to spending “there is nothing that will stop this action and the addiction will continue to get worse,” DeMoss goes on to promote the “intervention” of the states and the people as a way to force Congress to “changes [sic] its errant ways.”

By now, most people are aware that the specific type of intervention preferred by the Compact for America is a convention of states called under the authority of Article V of the Constitution for the purpose of considering a balanced budget amendment.

About a year ago, this author wrote an article exposing the danger to our Constitution posed by the Compact for America.

Among the threats highlighted in that article was the possibility that delegates to a convention of the type supported by Compact for America could disregard the limits placed on their power and we could end up with a Constitution changed just enough to permanently protect and preserve the monied interests that support the convention, rather than the unalienable rights revered by our Founders. (For details of how such a scenario could happen, see the original article).

In response to my criticisms, the Compact for America’s Nick Dranias laid out some “facts” exposing my “meritless” claims, encouraging conservatives to join the clamor for a con-con. Looking at a few of the “facts” Dranias mentioned will reveal that many of the people pushing for this constitutional convention purposefully misrepresent the power already possessed by the states to stop the madness in Washington, D.C. and force Congress back into its constitutional cage.

First, Dranias writes:

More than any other policy, unlimited debt spending is the source and enabler of an overreaching federal government. Cut the spigot of limitless debt spending and you will create a structure that forces a debate over the legitimate functions of the federal government that will otherwise be easily evaded. Nullification in any of its forms is a purely defensive maneuver and cannot limit federal debt spending.

Purely defensive and unable to limit federal debt spending? False.

A common claim by the con-con supporters is that nullification can’t work. But states may and must reclaim their right to stand as guardians of our Republic. Of course, most governors (who would serve as delegates at the CFA’s vision of a con-con) could “cut the spigot” by refusing to cash the checks sent to them by Washington, D.C. That’s not likely to happen, though, right? Rather than boldly declare the independence and sovereignty of the states, many governors would prefer to shake their fists at the federal government with one hand and cash the kickback check with the other.

This duplicity allows the governors to appear to be mad at Washington, while actually fighting behind the scenes to secure their preferred spot at the federal trough.

Why, then, does the Article V convention choir continue singing the same tune? Why do they sing that one note that purposefully ignores the positive power of states to consider as null, void, and of no legal effect any act of Congress that exceeds the limits on its power? Probably because so many of their proposals actually increase the power of Congress rather than restrain it. 

For example, under the heading “State approval restores the Constitution,” Dranias explains how the out-of-control spending will somehow stop by providing for an increase in the spending limits:

By requiring state approval of any increase in the federal debt above a hard constitutional debt limit, the CFA’s BBA gives the states back a portion of the original power they had to check and balance Washington before the 17th Amendment. It should not be forgotten that before the 17th Amendment, states controlled the U.S. Senate, giving them authority not only over debt spending but all federal policies. Returning the states to a role in making federal policy is hardly “tinkering,” as claimed by Wolverton. It moves the Constitution dramatically closer to its original design, while targeting the state's engagement in federal policy to a clear problem area. 

Curiously, although Dranias doesn’t believe that state nullification will do anything to control Congress, he does believe states could be counted on to approve increases in congressional spending.

True constitutionalists, those without any sort of corporate connection or political patronage, realize that there is no reason to provide for any increase in the federal debt spending, not by Congress or by the states. In fact, if the states would cut the cord as I described above, the federal government wouldn’t be eating for two.

Constitutionalists know that the answer is the Constitution as written, not the Constitution as changed by socialists, “conservatives,” RINOs, or those select lawmakers, lobbyists, and scholars considered “morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution” as some have claimed.

Of course, Dranias is correct that repeal of the 17th Amendment would go a long way toward restoring the balance of power between states and the federal government. That has nothing to do, however, with the power the states still have to start severing the arms of the federal kraken.

We don’t need elite delegates chosen by rich and influential activists to re-write the Constitution in order to check the federal assault on liberty. We need only to enforce the Constitution as written, preserving it from the tinkering of the billionaires and scholars who will stop at nothing to accomplish the “grassroots” goal of a constitutional convention.


Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels frequently nationwide speaking on topics of nullification, the NDAA, the Second Amendment, and the surveillance state.  He is the co-founder of Liberty Rising, an educational endeavor aimed at promoting and preserving the Constitution. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Related articles:

Article V: Con-Con or Nothing Is the Cry of This Cause Célèbre

Article V Group Ignores States' Complicity in Federal Power Grab

Article V Convention: Dangerous Precedent, Dangerous Loyalties

Convention of States and Article V: Tearing Up the Talking Points

Convention of the States: Wrong on History, Nullification

Convention of the States: Scholars Ignore History

Repair vs. Restore: Why Constitution Doesn’t Need Article V Fix

In Defense of Con-Con, Meckler Chooses Ridicule Over Rebuttal

Socialists and Soros Fight for Article V Convention


  • Comment Link Teri Wednesday, 26 February 2014 22:05 posted by Teri

    Mr Wolverton is so wrong! The State Legislatures are NOT the ones to ratify the final amendment that might come from any Convention of States and neither is the Congress. THE PEOPLE are the ones that will ratify it/them. THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. NOT Congress. NOT State Legislatures. THE PEOPLE. That means YOU AND ME. THAT is what Article V safeguards. WE THE PEOPLE and our Liberty and Freedom (those are two separate things, did you know?)

    And in agreement with other comments on other articles here, the 16th and 17th amendments destroyed some Constitutional safeguards, along with a couple other amendments. Those can be undone one day people wake up and learn what the Constitution is really about, as opposed to what public school and universities have taught it's supposedly about for the past 120 years. I think the biggest danger is that the Founder set up the Constitution and Bill of Rights so that the Federal Government had very limited (numbered/enumerated) powers, and ALL other powers were left to the States (where the Constitution points them out only) and to the People (all other powers, because all the powers rightly emerged from the People in the first place.) The States were intended to safeguard and protect their citizenry from the Federal Government, by 'appointing' those who sat in the State Legislatures. However, now those Lesgislators are elected the same way that our State Representatives are, meaning the 17th Amendment ENDED "Senate" (though maintained the name only) and created a second "House of Representatives". So now both our Senators and Representatives are beholden to people and corporations, no to the States. The Sates are no longer safe. That means We The People of the states are no longer safe from Federal intrusion. The 16th amendment did the same thing by removing the protective "ceiling" over our heads of "no direct taxation" to today where we are directly taxed, and special groups of people are taxed. Totally screwed up our nation! The Convention of States lies OUTSIDE all that. It puts the power back in the hands of the PEOPLE.

    Learn the TRUTH about the Convention of States here:

    Learn the TRUTH about the Constitution in a FREE online class here:

  • Comment Link Heidi Preston Thursday, 06 February 2014 17:20 posted by Heidi Preston

    Let's look at the reason for wanting to change the Constitutional writings and that answer is the misuse and abuse of it by our leaders. Well, we have checks and balances in the system to protect us from this and if the misuse and abuses are taking place then it's the responsibility of the elected officials and our judicial system to correct not alter it.
    But as we can see this won't happen because we have a corrupt government system laced with lobbyist who know how to buy them. This is a well known fact with news articles telling names, dates ect.

    Trotsky was in New York before he started the Revolution (the historians tend to over look this aspect of the historical fact) and he is quoted to have said: "You will have a revolution, a terrible revolution. What course it takes will depend much on what Mr. Rockerfellar tells Mr. hague to do. Mr. Rockerfeller is a symbol of the American ruling class and Mr. Hague is a symbol of its political tools."- New york Times December 13, 1938 (Hague was a New Jersey Politician)

    This letter, from Marc Tucker to Hillary Clinton (written a decade ago, long before “governors and educators and individual states came up with” the idea of Common Core) –shows the plan of elite politicians to overtake individual state sovereignty of education. This letter is part of the Congressional Record.
    11 November 1992

    Hillary Clinton

    The Governor’s Mansion

    1800 Canter Street

    Little Rock, AR 72206

    Dear Hillary:

    I still cannot believe you won. But utter delight that you did pervades all the circles in which I move. I met last Wednesday in David Rockefeller’s office with him, John Sculley, Dave Barram and David Haselkorn. It was a great celebration. Both John and David R. were more expansive than I have ever seen them — literally radiating happiness. My own view and theirs is that this country has seized its last chance. I am fond of quoting Winston Churchill to the effect that “America always does the right thing — after it has exhausted all the alternatives.” This election, more than anything else in my experience, proves his point.

    The subject we were discussing was what you and Bill should do now about education, training and labor market policy. Following that meeting, I chaired another in Washington on the same topic. Those present at the second meeting included Tim Barnicle, Dave Barram, Mike Cohen, David Hornbeck, Hilary Pennington, Andy Plattner, Lauren Resnick, Betsy Brown Ruzzi, Bob Schwartz, Mike Smith and Bill Spring. Shirley Malcom, Ray Marshall and Susan McGuire were also invited. Though these three were not able to be present at last week’s meeting, they have all contributed by telephone to the ideas that follow. Ira Magaziner was also invited to this meeting......

    Me- the letter goes on and on to detail it's education agenda. The point is that one name keeps cropping up among the "interventions" of this country which alters the history of our Nation. This family is but one of the many who have great influence and give the "tools" of this country it's directives.

    It would be interesting to find out the real person behind all this unrest of our Constitution, but that won't be revealed for decades...but I suspect we will find some of the same names listed. Hillary Clinton is always on the Ballot in an election year......Ted Cruz has connections to Goldman Sachs through his wife (Heidi)...not a fan of Goldman Sachs monopoly.

  • Comment Link Lewis Citrenbaum Tuesday, 04 February 2014 11:17 posted by Lewis Citrenbaum

    Would the author please send me the email he quoted from Chip DeMoss? I would be very interested (and surprised) to verify his quotes.

    After checking his facts, -- -- Mr. Wolverton's argument, at its best misses the point, and, at its worst, is pure sophistry.

    Out-of-control federal spending will continue unabated unless the People take action. Serious action. For a century now, the problem has been systemic. Voting in new candidates will not get the job done. A limited Constitutional Convention organized by the states -like the Compact for America approach- seems to be exactly the type of action we need.

  • Comment Link Michael Dalene Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:34 posted by Michael Dalene

    If Senators and Reps would represent the People and State that "put them there" that alone would resolve 95% of this BS!

    The Constitution should have NEVER made the amount- or payment of State elected Reps salaries, payable by the US (aka, US) Treasury but the States themselves, while reserving the Right of the States to sanction or recall those elected to REPRESENT It at the federal level...

    Secondly, as originally written, Senators should be appointed- NOT ELECTED.

    PS: Again, 21st Century technology has made the abolishment of the federal government in its current form not only plausible, but desirable... there's no need to finance a Second government bureaucracy to duplicate the efforts of the 50 States. Other than "a Supreme Court" to decide jurisdictional disputes there is NO NEED for the Executive and Legislative Branches of the US government... their current Tasks could be more easily administered by a Board of Governors whose finality is ?made law" by the State legislature's---

    ... and everyone knows it is easier to defend against State tyranny than federal tyranny! The closer they are too Home the more easily they can be confronted!

  • Comment Link Marlou Monday, 03 February 2014 10:33 posted by Marlou

    Mr. Wolverton's article needs to be sent to everyone in your contact list! If you think things are bad now, wait until our Constitution has been altered by the "do-gooders!"

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