For Immediate Release Common Cause Hails Senate Subcommittee Vote for Constitutional Amendment Permitting Common Sense Limits on Political Spending

Posted on June 18, 2014

Thumbnail for the Overturn Citizens United campaign

June 18, 2014

Today’s Senate subcommittee endorsement of a constitutional amendment permitting common-sense limits on campaign spending “is an important step toward putting voters back at the center of our elections,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.

“In the name of free speech, the Supreme Court has turned the First Amendment inside out, giving the rich and powerful license to drown out the rest of us.  Our founders intended that the Constitution would protect everyone’s right to speak, not assist a handful of billionaires and corporations in speaking so loudly that other voices can no longer be heard. This amendment aims to put things back into balance.”

The proposed amendment, advanced 5-4 by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow Congress and the states to set “reasonable” limits on the raising and spending of money in elections in the wake of the Roberts Court’s radical deregulation of big money in cases like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC.

Working off an original draft introduced by Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, subcommittee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-IL, successfully pushed the panel to adopt new language he said simplifies and strengthens the proposal. The new language reads: 

Section 1.  To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.    

Section 2.  Congress and the States shall have power to implement this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.

Section 3.  Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.

The revised amendment language heads next to the full Judiciary Committee and ultimately to the Senate floor, where Senate Majority Leader Reid has promised a vote this summer.

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.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics

Tags: Amend U.S.


Posted by Les at: 09:38 PM, June 18, 2014
I am sorry, but I do not believe this amendment has a chance of passing. Greed is too prevalent among our Congressmen.
Posted by MaryinPortland at: 06:01 PM, June 18, 2014
Section 3 is potentially a problem. Won't corporate interests be able to argue, in the future, that paying zillions for political ads on TV is analogous to operating a printing press to greatly multiply one's political message?
Posted by citizen at: 05:22 PM, June 18, 2014
I surely hope this is a real effort to restore the voice of the people and not political grandstanding. We must understand that it will face enormous resistance from the powers that be. We must be ready and willing to continue to press the fight for as long as it takes. I also hope this is in harmony with the efforts of movetoamend dot org and represent dot us.

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