Republicans succeeded today in blocking Senate consideration of the DISCLOSE Act, a modest first attempt to start reigning in the money-in-politics free-for-all the Supreme Court set loose in January’s Citizens United decision.
The successful filibuster of DISCLOSE is frustrating, but it makes one thing very clear: the only way for voters to fully take back our democracy is to pass a Constitutional Amendment undoing the damage of Citizens United.
After the Senate’s vote on DISCLOSE, Sen. Max Baucus introduced a resolution calling for just such an amendment:
The impact of Citizens United goes well beyond merely changing campaign finance law. This decision will impact the ability of Congress, as well as State and local legislatures, to pass laws designed to protect its constituents—individual Americans—when such legislation comes under fierce objection by large corporations. Corporations are now free to spend millions targeting individual lawmakers. Lawmakers’ ability to pass laws such as consumer safety or investor protection now faces even greater challenges when such laws merely threaten the corporate bottom line.
Congress and the American people must respond swiftly and firmly. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United has severely altered Congress’s ability to limit corporate spending in our electoral process.
The amendment simply returns the power of regulating election spending to Congress and the states. Here it is in its entirety:
Section 1. Congress shall have the power to regulate the contribution of funds by corporations and labor organizations to a candidate for election to, or for nomination for election to, a Federal office, and the power to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations and labor organizations made in support of, or opposition to, such candidates.
Section 2. A State shall have the power to regulate the contribution of funds by corporations and labor organizations to a candidate for election to, or for nomination for election to, public office in the State, and the power to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations and labor organizations made in support of, or opposition to, such candidates.
Section 3. Nothing contained in this Amendment shall be construed to allow Congress or a State to make any law abridging the freedom of the press.”
We’ve asked all federal elected officials and candidates to sign on to a pledge to support a Constitutional Amendment to reverse Citizens United. Find out more at www.pledgefordemocracy.org.