As part of a city-wide election in Los Angeles, voters in the second-largest US city passed a referendum to overturn Citizens United using a constitutional amendment.
76.6% of voters favored Proposition C, which would overturn the 2010 Supreme Court decision and limit the rights of corporations to spend money on elections. The resolution also requires Los Angeles lawmakers and area representatives to actively push for a constitutional amendment on the state and federal levels.
Los Angeles joins over 400 jurisdictions including 175 cities, such as San Francisco, Chicago and Boston, that have passed similar resolutions, along with 13 states: Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, West Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, California and Hawaii.
Amending the constitution requires passage by two thirds of each chamber of Congress, and then ratification by three quarters of the states. That means 67 Senators and 290 House Representatives have to sign on.
"The people are speaking here - at the ballot box and through their elected representatives. The overwhelming majorities supporting an amendment in every jurisdiction where it has come to a vote should send a powerful signal to Washington and every state capitol," says Karen Hobert Flynn, senior vice president for strategy and programs for Common Cause, which is spearheading the drive to overturn Citizens United.
In Citizens United and other decisions, the Supreme Court in recent years has removed longstanding bans or limits on political spending by corporations, trade associations, labor unions and wealthy individuals. More than $1 billion in "independent expenditures" from such donors went into the 2012 races for president, Congress and state offices, much of it without disclosure of the actual sources of the money.
24 Senators and 73 House Reps have introduced or co-sponsored amendment bills. The 78-member Congressional Progressive Caucus voted unanimously in support of a constitutional amendment.
2 million signatures were delivered to the Senate last July calling for Congress to overturn Citizens United and related cases by amending the Constitution.