Illinois Becomes 15th State to Back Amendment That Would Overturn Citizens United

Illinois on Friday joined 14 other states in calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and again permitting sensible limits on political spending.

“Today’s bipartisan passage marks a turning point to restore government of, by, and for the people,” said Rey Lopez-Calderon, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois, which led the coalition to pass the bill. “Republicans and Democrats agree: our elected officials should be accountable to the voters, not to big money and special interests.”

“With this vote, we’re now nearly halfway to the number of states needed to ratify an amendment once it gets through Congress,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for strategy and programs. “Once we hit that benchmark, Congress has no excuse for delaying action.”

Voters in Montana and Colorado, along with more than 100 Massachusetts localities, and cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, have passed “voter instruction” measures directing their representatives in Washington to adopt an amendment and send it to the states for ratification.

Thirteen state legislatures, now including Illinois, also have passed resolutions or sent letters to Congress endorsing an amendment. Common Cause’s national “Only People Are People” campaign is mobilizing support for voter instruction measures and legislative resolutions in additional states and localities.

In Citizens United and other decisions, the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations and wealthy individuals have free speech rights to spend as much as they wish and can afford to influence elections. “The court has invited corruption unlike anything seen since the Watergate era,” Hobert Flynn said. “A constitutional amendment is the first step toward controlling special interest political spending and the corruption that goes with it.”