To restore the ability of Congress and the states to regulate corporate influence in elections, Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) , along with Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Begich (D-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have introduced a constitutional amendment that would reverse the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The ruling, which granted corporations the same Free Speech rights as people to spend money in support of or against candidates for office, has led to an unprecedented flood of corporate money in elections across the United States, often under the cover of anonymity.
Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way, issued the following statement:
“In Citizens United, the Supreme Court put our democracy up for sale, and as a result, a constitutional amendment is the only way to completely stop the flood of special interest spending in our election system. I commend Senators Udall, Bennet, Harkin and the other supporters for taking this step toward bringing integrity and transparency back to the electoral process. The American people – not deep pocketed corporations – should be the loudest voice when we choose our leaders.”
Groups supporting a constitutional amendment to reverse the damage caused by Citizens United have collected over 750,000 signatures. You can sign People For the American Way’s petition asking congressional leaders to ensure that the government has the authority to limit corporate influence in elections here.
At this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, and again on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, former House speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stated that as president, he would urge Congress to subpoena federal judges whose decisions he disagreed with and even ignore Supreme Court rulings that he believes are wrong.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) introduced a constitutional amendment that would restore to Congress and the states the authority to regulate corporate spending on political activity, including contributions in support of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. This proposed amendment seeks to overturn the Supreme Court’s deeply flawed decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which granted corporations the same Free Speech rights as people to spend money to influence elections. The amendment is similar to one introduced in the last Congress, and was introduced with the support of 14 other co-sponsors.
“We applaud this bold step by Representatives Edwards and Conyers to place limits on the corporate spending on elections which is hurtling out of control. It is time that we take down the for sale sign on our democracy and constitutional remedies such as that proposed by Representatives Edwards and Conyers are the only meaningful way to do that,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president at People For the American Way. “Reversing the damage caused by Citizens United is absolutely crucial to making sure that the American people – and not the deepest-pocketed corporations – hold the keys to our democracy. The pro-corporate Supreme Court is taking us down a slippery slope, and it’s time for bold steps to preserve the democratic promise of government by the people.”
A new People For the American Way Foundation report, The Citizens United Era: How the Supreme Court Continues to Put Business First, examines how the Supreme Court’s ultra conservative majority is working to reshape our Constitution and elevate corporate interests above the rights of individual Americans. Beginning with the 2010 decision in Citizens United, the Roberts Court has handed down a steady stream of decisions that allow enormous corporations to benefit at the expense of ordinary Americans.
On Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Darrell Issa (R-CA), will hold a hearing on state and municipal debt. Parading a roster of ultra-conservative ideologues including Gov.