Voters in Los Angeles, the nation's second largest city, on Tuesday emphatically endorsed the national drive for a constitutional amendment affirming that "Only People Are People" and overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.
Proposition C, backed by a coalition of public interest groups led by Common Cause, instructs elected officials and legislators who represent Los Angeles in Washington and Sacramento to support an amendment that would again permit common sense limits on corporate political spending. It received nearly 77% of the vote in Tuesday's municipal election.
"The voters have spoken loud and clear that they want big money out of our elections," said Derek Cressman, director of Common Cause's "Only People Are People" campaign. "Now it's up to the Los Angeles congressional delegation to heed the call from their constituents."
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.
"Tuesday's Los Angeles vote is a tremendous victory for the government of, by and for the people envisioned by America's founders," said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause's senior vice president for strategy and programs. "We're determined to press for similar voter initiatives and legislative endorsements across the nation, building on the tremendous support for an amendment we saw last November in Montana and Colorado, and through votes in more than 400 localities including San Francisco, Chicago and Boston."
Thirteen state legislatures also have passed resolutions or sent letters to Congress calling for an amendment.
"The people are speaking here -- at the ballot box and through their elected representatives," Hobert Flynn said. "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."
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.