Obama, Romney Must Get Serious About Controlling Political Money

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  • Dale Eisman

President Obama and Mitt Romney should get firmly behind a constitutional amendment to control political spending, backing up their stated interest in reining in big money by campaigning on behalf of amendment proposals on the ballot across the country this fall, Common Cause said today.

It would be refreshing to see the President and Gov. Romney slow down their shameless pursuit of big money and instead devote their energies to building the movement to control it,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “Amending the Constitution isn’t easy, and shouldn’t be, but it’s critically important that we pass an amendment to protect against attempts to buy our government.”

During an appearance in Charlottesville, Va. on Wednesday, the President said Americans “need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process,” in response to Citizens United and other Supreme Court rulings that invite corporations and the wealthy to pour millions of dollars into U.S. elections.

“We need to do more than just ‘seriously consider’ an amendment. The amendment process already is underway and deserves the active support of both the President and Gov. Romney,” Edgar said. “Ballot measures pending in Montana and Colorado and already passed or pending in a number of localities are allowing voters to declare their support for sensible limits on political money and the corruption that inevitably goes with it.”

Edgar noted that as a candidate for president in 2008, Obama promised to work on fixing the nation’s broken system of public financing for presidential campaigns. And just last week, Romney said that if he’s elected this year he would prefer to use public financing when he seeks a second term in 2016.

“Unfortunately, President Obama has failed to deliver on his past promises when it comes to public financing; just as bad, the platform Gov. Romney’s party adopted this week encourages rather than opposes unlimited political spending,” Edgar said. “If either candidate wants voters to believe he’s serious about cleaning up this system, he needs to take action to demonstrate it.”

Tens of thousands of Montanans and Coloradans have signed petitions circulated through Amend 2012, a campaign launched by Common Cause, to put “voter instruction” measures on the ballot in those states this fall. The initiatives would allow voters to express their support for an amendment directly to their representatives.

Legislatures in Hawaii, California, New Mexico,Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Massachusetts already have passed resolutions calling on Congress to adopt an amendment, as have city and county councils in San Francisco, Chicago and dozens of other localities.Click here for a full list of state and local resolutions and ballot measures.