During the first post-Citizens United presidential election, the American people were able to see just how distorted and outsized corporate influence and Super PACs have become in our democracy.
But the Citizens United decision has not only caused corporate political spending to grow to outlandish proportions; it has also served to muzzle politicians who attempt to stand up to big corporations. Now more than any time in recent history, members of Congress must factor into their voting decisions the awareness that if they go against the special interests of a big corporation, they face the possibility of thousands, even millions of dollars in corporate money used against them in their races.
Fortunately, the American people have taken note and are taking action. Unprecedented public support for meaningful reform has already led to substantial progress in states all across the country and a mounting public movement demanding a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore our democracy has emerged. Over 400 cities and towns, as well as 11 states, have called on Congress to send the states an amendment proposal that would overturn the disastrous decision. Just this week, PFAW and ally organizations re-launched the “Declaration For Democracy” campaign, which helps identify and amplify the voices of public officials who support amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United and related cases.
Now the state of Washington is looking to add its voice to the growing consensus. Earlier this month, a group of state legislators, led by Sen. Adam Kline and Rep. Jamie Pedersen introduced companion bills requesting that Congress pass a constitutional amendment to return the authority to regulate election spending to Congress and state legislatures. The bills, which have already received committee hearings, now face their first hurdle: gathering enough legislator support for passage.
If you are a Washington citizen, call your state representative and senator and let them know how important this issue is to you. With your help, we can ensure that it is the voters, and not the corporations, who are holding our legislators accountable.
Over two million petition signatures nationwide have been collected in support of a constitutional amendment that would get big, corporate money out of politics. Republicans and Democrats. Teachers and lawyers. Students and senior citizens. All have joined the growing chorus of Americans who are fed up with being voiceless. We need to make sure our legislators are listening closely.
Ensuring that our democracy remains free from outside and outsized influence is not a Democratic value or a Republican value, it’s an American value. This is an issue that we can all get behind, regardless of political affiliation, because it is an issue that affects all of us.