New Mexico Joins Drive to Overturn Citizens United

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  • Dale Eisman

The New Mexico state Senate grabbed a bit of history for itself and the state on Saturday by calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment putting voters, not big dollar donors, at the center of our political campaigns and elections, Common Cause said today.

“This is a great victory for citizen action. With this vote, and the previous week’s victory in the state House of Representatives, New Mexico joins Hawaii as the first states to formally give voice to the frustration millions of Americans are feeling over the attempted takeover of our elections by the super rich and large corporations,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar.

“Congress needs to listen and respond to this grassroots support for a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations aren’t people, money isn’t speech and political spending is subject to reasonable limits,” he added.

Through Amend 2012, a national campaign launched last month, Common Cause is lobbying for similar action in other state legislatures and for ballot measures that would permit voters to speak – at the ballot box – on the need for a constitutional amendment reversing the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case.

The Amend 2012 campaign is focused on securing voter initiative and referenda through which citizens could instruct their representatives in Washington to pass an amendment and send it to the states for ratification.

The court’s 5-4 ruling overturned a century’s worth of laws barring corporations from tapping their treasuries to support or oppose political candidates. It permits them to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advocacy and is expected to trigger hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate spending on the 2012 elections.

“Americans understand that Citizens United inevitably will lead to a more corrupt government, as candidates feel the pressure to give corporations and other big donors a return on their investments,” Edgar said. “The next President and Congress must take on this issue and bring big money under control.”