Quotes by Members of Congress on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, dozens of members of Congress stepped forward to express grave concern, and many called for a constitutional amendment to correct the Court.

For the latest on our efforts to overturn Citizens United, visit our campaign page Fighting Big Money in Politics.


Senator Mark Begich (D-AK-Junior). 1/21/1010. Office of Senator Begich.

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on campaign financing is a shameful step backward toward big money special interests exercising too much influence over American political campaigns.


Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-14). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Eshoo.

With this decision, the Supreme Court has thumbed its nose at precedent, at the Congress, and most importantly the will of the people. This is an enormous step in the wrong direction.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-08). 1/21/2010. Office of Speaker Pelosi.

The Supreme Court’s decision represents a step backward for the American people and our nation’s political process.


Senator Michael F. Bennet (D-CO-Junior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Bennet.

Allowing corporate influence to flow unfettered into federal campaigns will only undermine the confidence the American people have in their government, and serve only to stack the deck further in favor of special interests at the expense of hardworking Americans.


Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT-Senior). 2/24/2010. Office of Senator Dodd.

Ultimately, we must cut through the underbrush and go directly to the heart of the problem, and that is why I am proposing this constitutional amendment: because constitutional questions need constitutional answers.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT-Senior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Dodd.

I intend to pursue every legislative option – including a constitutional amendment to allow Congress and the states to put appropriate limits on campaign spending – to restore the trust and voice of the American people.

Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT-03). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative DeLauro.

With this ill-advised spate of judicial activism, five Supreme Court justices have struck down the distinction between individuals and corporations in election law and opened the floodgates to a hostile corporate takeover of our democratic process.

Representative John B. Larson (D-CT-01). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Larson.

At a time when the American people are disgusted by the amount of money in political system, the Supreme Court decision today will remove the remaining safeguards that have given the American people a fair voice in government.


Senator Edward E. Kaufman (D-DE-Junior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Kaufman.

Despite nearly 100 years of statutes and precedent that establish the authority of Congress to limit the corrupting influence of corporate money in federal elections, the Court today ruled that corporations are absolutely free to spend shareholder money with the intent to promote the election or defeat of a candidate for political office

Representative Michael N. Castle (R-DE-At-Large). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Castle.

As a strong supporter of campaign finance restrictions, I am deeply concerned by today’s Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. FEC, which will allow unprecedented corporate influence in our elections.


Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL-08). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Grayson.

The Supreme Court in essence has ruled that corporations can buy elections. If that happens, democracy in America is over.


Representative Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI-02). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Hirono.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is yet another nod to the wealthy corporate interests in this country. This ruling now allows big corporations to spend large amounts of money to influence elections far beyond the ability of individual Americans. The free market free-for-all announced by these justices makes me wonder, ‘What’s next?’ If today’s ruling isn’t legislating from the bench, I don’t know what is.


Representative Leonard L. Boswell (D-IA-03). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Boswell.

I have introduced this important [constitutional amendment] today because the Supreme Court’s ruling strikes at the very core of democracy in the United States by inflating the speech rights of large, faceless corporations to the same level of hard-working, every day Americans.


Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL-Senior). 1/24/2010. Roll Call.

I can’t wait to see my Republican friends who preached against judicial activism explain this decision . . . [which] allows political extortionism.

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL-Senior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Durbin.

Today’s decision by Supreme Court is a triumph for special interest and judicial activism at its worst. Overturning the ban on corporate spending on political campaigns opens the floodgates for the corrupting influence and the dominant hand of special interest groups


Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN-Junior). 2/21/2010. Firedoglake.

I can easily imagine vulnerable members approaching a corporation or union for support and being told: “We’d love to support you, but we have a rule. We only support candidates who are with us at least 90 percent of the time. Here is our questionnaire with our top 10 concerns. Fill it out.” Millions of campaign dollars now ride on the member’s response. The cause of good government is not served.


Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA-Senior). 2/2/2010. Office of Senator Kerry.

I think we need a constitutional amendment to make it clear once and for all that corporations do not have the same free speech rights as individuals.

Representative Michael E. Capuano (D-MA-08). 1/28/2010. Office of Representative Capuano.

We should be moving in the exact opposite direction – limiting outside influence in our democratic elections process, not giving corporations an unrestricted and disproportionate voice.


Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD-Junior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Cardin.

By effectively legislating in areas that Congress has set reasonable guidelines, the Supreme Court is swinging the door wide open for special interests and corporate America to have an even greater influence over our political system.

Representative Donna F. Edwards (D-MD-04). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Edwards.

As a long-time advocate for campaign finance reform, today’s ruling by the United States’ Supreme Court is a devastating step backward in the effort to prevent excessive corporate influence on elections.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-08). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Van Hollen.

This is a very, very sad day for American democracy and this is a very radical, radical decision that came out of the Supreme Court of the United States – a court that said they respected precedent


Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME-Senior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Snowe.

The effects of the decision will be to undermine existing law, flood the airwaves with corporate and union advertisements, and undercut landmark reforms that I and many others fought to secure to put elections back in the hands of the American people. In short, today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.


Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-MI-14). 1/22/2010. Office of Representative Grayson.

I am looking into any and all avenues to alleviate the harm to the American people that the Supreme Court has done with yesterday’s decision.


Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ-Junior). 1/24/2010. Roll Call.

[Today is] a dark day for democracy and a dark day for average citizens.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ-Junior). 1/24/2010. Roll Call.

If Republicans want to stand with big-monied interests, with-big business interests, versus the average citizen, to try to influence elections, that’s fine with me.


Senator Tom Udall (D-NM-Junior). 2/24/2010. Office of Senator Udall (Tom).

We have long needed substantive campaign finance reform and I am proud to join Senator Dodd in this effort to amend our Constitution and help put our elections back in the hands of average Americans.

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM-Junior). 2/2/2010. CQ Congressional Record.

The best long-term solution is a constitutional amendment that would prevent the Court from overturning sensible campaign finance regulations.

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM-Junior). 2/2/2010. CQ.

[The court’s decision was] a victory for special interests at the expense of the average American.

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM-Junior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Udall (Tom).

Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for special interests at the expense of the average American.


Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY-Senior). 2/11/2010. Roll Call.

“It’s hard to see how Republicans can be against disclosures, disclaimers and [support] foreign influence on our electoral process,” Schumer said. “We expect there will be Republican support.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY-Senior). 2/2/2010. CQ.

[The ruling] has the potential to be disastrous to our democracy.

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY-Senior). 1/21/2010. Roll Call.

Now robber barons can act like parasites striking at our very roots.

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-08). 2/3/2010. CQ Congressional Transcripts.

It is a case which poses a great threat to the integrity of our democratic system.


Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH-Junior). 2/4/2010. Office of Senator Brown (Sherrod).

Our government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH-10). 1/21/2010. Office of Representative Kucinich.

Today’s decision will allow corporations to spend unlimited funds in support of political candidates. It will increase the stranglehold corporations now have over politics. There is no more effective way to concentrate even more money and power in the hands of the wealthy


Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA-Senior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Specter.

Pending close study of the opinion of the Court, it appears that the only way to solve the problem created by the Court’s decision today is through the Constitutional amendment process.

Representative Robert A. Brady (D-PA-01). 2/18/2010. Committee on House Administration.

With the stroke of a pen, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court undermined the ability of everyday Americans to impact the course of American elections. While certain Congressional elements applaud the equivalent of an E-Bay auction of the American election system to the highest bidder, eight out of 10 Americans polled opposed the court’s decision with 65% strongly opposed.


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI-Junior). 1/29/2010. CQ Congressional Record.

[The] activist element of the Supreme Court struck down key protections of our elections integrity, overturned the will of Congress and the American people, and allowed all corporations to spend without limit in order to elect and defeat candidates and influence policy to meet their political ends. The consequences may well be nightmarish.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI-Junior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Whitehouse.

Today’s disastrous decision is a long step towards government of the CEOs, by the CEOs, and for the CEOs.


Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT-Senior). 2/9/2010. CQ Congressional Record.

This divisive decision puts the special interests of big oil, banks and insurance companies ahead of the interests of the American people.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT-Senior). 1/28/2010. CQ Congressional Record.

I cannot remember a time in my 36 years in the Senate when I have come to this floor to criticize even decisions I disagree with, but this one I am because it goes to the very core of our democracy, and it will allow major corporations, which should have laws written to control their effect on America, to instead control America.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT-Senior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Leahy.

This ruling is no doubt yet another victory for Wall Street, at the expense of Main Street America. Our founding document begins, ‘We the People,’ and throughout its articles and amendments, the Constitution enshrines the power of our government in the people, not in corporations and powerful special interests.

Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT-Junior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Sanders.

The ruling will, to a significant degree, give control of the political process in the United States to the wealthiest and most powerful institutions in the world and the candidates who support their agenda. Instead of democracy being about one-person one-vote, it will now be about the size of a company’s bank account.

Representative Peter Welch (D-VT-At-Large). 3/2/2010. WPTZ.com.

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch talked about changes that he thinks are necessary in order to preserve the integrity of voting. “The power of that money is an intimidating effect that is going to compromise the political process and I think compromise folks’ already fragile trust in the institution of these elections,” said Welch. He also announced his support for a constitutional amendment that would give congress the power to regulate corporate contributions.


Senator Patty Murray (D-WA-Senior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Murray.

Today’s Supreme Court decision is a step backward for democracy. It is a mistake that ignores a century of legal precedent, critical reforms made by Congress, and most importantly, the role of individual citizens in the political process.


Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI-Junior). 2/24/2010. The Progessive.

Terrible decision. One of the most lawless decisions in the history of this country and of the Supreme Court. It throws open our political process to huge corporations including foreign money.

Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI-Junior). 1/21/2010. Office of Senator Feingold.

The American people will pay dearly for this decision when, more than ever, their voices are drowned out by corporate spending in our federal elections.