Senators Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United

Update November 9:

The citizens of Missoula, Montana passed a resolution in support of amending the Constitution to end corporate personhood and undo the Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision. 

Update November 3:

Last night Boulder became the second city to pass a ballot measure calling for an amendment to the US Constitution that would state that corporations are not people and the legal status of money as free speech. At midnight, with 93% of the ballots counted, the measure was handily winning with 74% of voters in support.

"From Occupy Wall Street to Boulder, Colorado and every town in between, Americans are fed up with corporate dominance of our political system," says Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a national spokesperson for Move to Amend. "Local resolution campaigns are an opportunity for citizens to speak up and let it be known that we won’t accept the corporate takeover of our government lying down. We urge communities across the country to join the Move to Amend campaign and raise your voices."

Earlier this year voters in Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin overwhelmingly approved similar measures by 84% and 78% respectively. Next week, voters in Missoula, Montana will vote.  Move to Amend volunteers are working to place similar measures on local ballots across the country next year.

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Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) has introduced a constitutional amendment which would reverse the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United vsFederal Election Commission, which upheld corporate personhood, thus making it unconstitutional for government to regulate the money spent to influence elections.

The amendment is co-sponsored by Senators Bennet (D-CO), Harkin (D-IA), Durban (D-IL), Schumer (D-NY) and Whitehouse (D-RI).

The ruling unleashed a flood of cash from corporations and super PACs, which can spend as much as they want and do so nearly in secret.

"Letting this go unchecked is a threat to our democracy. Campaigns should be about the best ideas, not the biggest checkbooks," said Udall at a press conference.

Only a constitutonal amendment can reverse the ruling. The amendment adds language to the Constitution that says Congress and the states can regulate campaign contributions and expenditures. It doesn’t address the Supreme Court’s  legal finding that corporations have a right to free speech that was curtailed by election law.

Udall’s amendment authorizes Congress to regulate raising and spending money for federal campaigns, and allows states to do the same. It also allows Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that could withstand constitutional challenges.

It in addition to reversing Citizens United, it would effectively reverse another landmark Supreme Court decision – the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling, which says spending money in elections is a form of free speech.

A month ago, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) introduced a similar amendment in the House.

It will be tough to get an amendment passed. Senator Schumer (D-NY) didn’t get far with his Disclose Act last year, which simply required campaign donors to disclose who they are. It’s very much on the radar of Occupy Wall Street.

Groups supporting a constitutional amendment have collected over 750,000 signatures – add yours here:

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Comments on “Senators Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United”

  1. Jim Hughes

    What a novel idea, letting the 535 prostitutes and thousands of pious pimps set their own limits of corruption! Washington D.C. and State Capitols only place where prostitution and bribary is legal! A far superior is let the U.S. VOTER word the admendment!

    No non-citizen shall contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office. United States citizens shall be free to contribute no more than the equivalent of $100 to any federal candidate during any election cycle. Notwithstanding the limits construed to be part of the First Amendment, Congress shall have the power to limit, but not ban, independent political expenditures, so long as such limits are content and viewpoint neutral. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office.”

    May the people save the republic!

  2. Ol' Whip

    Or candidates can not spend more then a certain amount per registered voter. 25 cents for local elections, 20 cents for state elections and 15 cents for federal. Still require full disclosure so we all will know who they are whoring for. I must admit, Im starting to prefer your plan. Either way, cut the money hose and they will neither be beholding to any one entity, but they would be forced to cut the BS and actually debate and resolve the real issues facing this country.


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