The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, now bolstered by the recent McCutcheon decision, has unleashed a flood of spending on our elections that threatens the very foundation of our democracy.
Because we know that America will never deliver on its promise if our election system is dominated by big money interests, we are writing today to urge you to support S.J.Res. 19: a constitutional amendment to establish that Congress and the states have the power to regulate and limit election spending.
This amendment would overturn Citizens United v. FEC , as well as McCutcheon v. FEC, the decision issued earlier this year eliminating the cap on the total amount an individual can contribution to candidates, political parties and political committees. The amendment also would overturn the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling, which established the doctrine colloquially known as “money equals speech.”
The Supreme Court held in McCutcheon that the only legitimate rationale for limiting campaign spending is to prevent quid pro quo corruption – essentially, the crime of bribery. But the American people understand quite well that corruption can take many forms and the problem with big money dominating our elections is far more profound than the narrowly defined crime of bribery. These activist judicial changes to the meaning of our Constitution tilt the entire government to favor big money donors. They deny regular people an equal say in determining the future of our country.
America faces great and serious challenges – putting people back to work, addressing deepening inequality, averting catastrophic climate change, fixing our schools, ensuring quality and affordable health care for all, and much more. Our country has the wealth and wherewithal, and the creativity and conscience, to meet these challenges. But we will fall short unless we repair our democracy.
We do not lightly call for amending our great Constitution. But we know that there can be no greater constitutional purpose than ensuring the functioning of our democracy. We urge you in the strongest terms to support S.J.Res.19, so that it quickly becomes the 28th amendment to our Constitution.