Common Cause Hails Introduction of Democracy for All Amendment

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  • Dale Eisman

Common Cause today urged quick approval in the House of Representatives for The Democracy for All Amendment (H.J. Res.119), introduced to give Congress and the states the ability to regulate the torrent of money flooding our political system.

“Free speech is a fundamental right for every American, not just the billionaires and special interests whose money now dominates our politics,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “The vast majority of Americans cannot afford to hire a lobbyist, host a congressional fundraiser, or start a super PAC. The Democracy for All Amendment will ensure that all Americans, regardless of their wealth, can have their voices heard in our elections and our government.”

Rapoport said Common Cause commends Representatives Deutch, Edwards, McGovern, Leader Pelosi, and other members of Congress for introducing the amendment. He urged House Speaker John Boehner to bring the proposal to the floor quickly, so the public can hear who is defending the status quo of big money and who wants to empower everyday Americans.

Amending the Constitution is no small task and should be done only in extraordinary circumstances; this is one of those critical times, Rapoport asserted.

Common Cause has figured prominently in campaigns that have led voters or their elected representatives in 16 states and hundreds of localities – with a population of more than 120 million – to call on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions that have allowed unlimited spending by billionaires and corporations in elections.  The Democracy for All Amendment would allow Congress and the states to adopt reasonable limits on political fundraising and spending, and prohibit corporations from using their profits to influence elections.

“The amendment’s opponents are trying to scare Americans into believing this proposal would allow the government to muzzle its critics,” Rapoport said. “That’s just not true. In fact, the amendment would encourage people to speak and help make their voices heard. It recognizes that big money has become a megaphone that now allows a handful of big donors to drown out other voices and call the tune in Washington, our state capitals, and in city, county and town halls across the country.” 

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote in September on an identical measure to allow Congress and the states to set reasonable guidelines on political spending. In addition to a constitutional amendment, Common Cause continues to fight for increased disclosure of political spending and for small-donor fair and clean elections systems.