Constitutional Amendment Hearing is an Important Step Forward

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  • Dale Eisman

“We’re delighted at today’s news that the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up Sen. Tom Udall’s draft amendment next month,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for strategy and programs. “At the polls or through their elected state legislators, millions of Americans in 16 states and hundreds of localities have called on Congress to act; it’s time to get on with the job.”

Hobert Flynn acknowledged that the June 3 hearing announced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is just the beginning of a years-long process to amend the Constitution.

“Changing the Constitution isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be, but the Supreme Court has distorted the First Amendment to give a handful of wealthy Americans license to purchase influence in Washington, our statehouses and our local governments. The court’s systematic dismantling of our campaign finance laws allows the few to drown out the voices of the many in our elections and calls on Congress and the public to change the Constitution so that every American can be heard.”

Common Cause has been a major force in building public support for an amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s rulings in Citizens United, McCutcheon and other major election law cases. In 2012, the organization led campaigns in which voters in Colorado and Montana overwhelmingly endorsed ballot measures calling on Congress to pass an amendment. Voters or city councils in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and hundreds of other localities have passed similar measures and 16 state legislators have formally called on Congress to act.

Common Cause also is leading efforts to counteract the court’s rulings with tougher campaign finance disclosure laws and “clean elections” or “fair elections” plans that amplify the power of small dollar donations from individuals.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that works for the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard.