People For the American Way’s Marge Baker moderated a panel discussion on Capitol Hill about the necessity of a constitutional amendment to address out-of-control corporate spending on elections made possible by Citizens United. A rapidly growing constellation of elected leaders, grass roots organizations and by a 48 point margin Americans believe that deep-pocketed corporations should not be able to overpower the will of the American people. Supporters of constitutional remedies to restore the balance of power to the people have reached a “movement moment”: ten constitutional amendments have been introduced in the 112th Congress, and dozens of state and local resolutions opposing the decision have been adopted in towns, cities and states across the country.
Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, was joined by Senator Tom Udall, Representative Ted Deutch, Representative Keith Ellison, Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and Colorado Activist Elena Nuñez for the discussion.
“Money, lobbyists and special interests have too much influence and we’ve got to get control of it.” –Sen. Tom Udall
“At this moment, we have to amend the constitution to clarify that for-profit corporations cannot spend their money, every dollar of which they raised for commercial purposes, to influence the outcome of elections.”–Rep. Ted Deutch
“I introduced my constitutional amendment because I believe America should be a democracy, not a plutocracy.” –Rep. Keith Ellison
“This is not an anti-business thing. We want corporations to thrive, but we don’t want them to govern.” –Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin
“Money can drown out our voices…we have to take it out of the court’s hands and give it back to the people – and now is the time to do it.” –NYC Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito
“Once people understood that there was something we could do, that a constitutional amendment was a way to regain the people’s voice…people really gravitated to it.” –Elena Nuñez, Colorado Common Cause