D.C., Los Angeles Councils Fuel Movement to Reverse Citizens United
- Dale Eisman
Votes today in two great cities a continent apart demonstrate the growing momentum for action this year to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and get control of the corrosive power of money in our elections, Common Cause said today.
“In Washington, D.C. and in Los Angeles, city council members joined in calling for passage of a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and permit Congress and the states to again impose sensible limits on campaign spending,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “It’s time our laws said ‘NO!’ to those who use their money to buy influence in government from the courthouse to the Capitol and the White House.”
The Los Angeles City Council, which in 2011 adopted a resolution supporting an amendment, voted today to give citizens an opportunity to speak directly to Congress on the issue. A question on the city’s May 2013 ballot will let voters instruct their representatives in Washington to support an amendment overturning Citizens United and authorizing limits on corporate and individual political spending.
Voters in Montana and Colorado, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and more than 100 other Massachusetts localities passed similar voter instruction measures last November.
Meanwhile in Washington, the DC Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution urging Congress to pass an amendment and send it to the states for ratification. Eleven state legislatures and hundreds of local governing bodies across the country already have adopted similar calls to action.
“Americans understand the damage the unrestricted flow of money is doing to our political system and they know things will only get worse until we get that flow under control,” Edgar said.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, decided in 2010, is the most prominent in a series of Supreme Court rulings that in recent years have chipped away at campaign finance laws put in place after the Watergate scandal forced President Richard Nixon from office in 1974. The decisions equate political spending with free speech and permit corporations, trade associations, unions, other groups- and individuals to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advocacy and other attempts to influence elections.
Common Cause is spearheading a national drive, Amend 2012, to build support for an amendment and on Tuesday was among several groups announcing the re-launch of a “Declaration for Democracy” campaign that seeks to enlist public officials at every level in the effort.