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June 21, 2012

Citizens Applaud Philadelphia City Council Approval of Resolution for Constitutional Amendment to Curb Corporate Power in Elections

Amendment Needed to Overturn U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling; More Than 250 Resolutions Have Been Passed Nationwide

Philadelphia, Pa. – Philadelphia activists today applauded the Philadelphia City Council for approving a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment designed to curb corporate influence over elections.

The resolution – which was sponsored by Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Curtis Jones, Marian Tasco and Cindy Bass – calls for passage of a constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which gave corporations and wealthy individuals the green light to spend unlimited sums on elections. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling, record amounts of money have been spent in races throughout the country.

The resolution is one of more than 250 that have been passed since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. The local effort was organized by numerous organizations and elected officials, including Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People team in Philadelphia, Citizens Respond, Common Cause Pennsylvania, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, Fight for Philly, Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee, Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women, Philadelphia MoveOn Council, Philly Rootstrikers, Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, Granny Peace Brigade of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus.

“We salute Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez for her leadership and the entire Philadelphia City Council for its courage in taking up this critical fight to save our democracy from the tsunami of corporate money flooding our political campaigns,” said Steve Masters, a team leader in Philadelphia for Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. “The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United has put the future of our democratic system of government in peril. This great city, which gave birth to both our democracy and our Constitution, is not about to sit quietly and watch our nation lose that precious gift. We’re willing to fight as hard as we need to defend and preserve our democracy for ourselves and future generations.”

Added Aquene Freechild, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign, “Philadelphia is part of a national tide of cities and states calling for a constitutional amendment to get money out of our elections. People are tired of being flooded with lies and half-truths in political ads, and of being shut out of decision-making. More than 250 cities and towns nationwide have passed resolutions calling for an amendment. Philly is joining the swelling chorus of citizens proclaiming our democracy is not for sale.”

At a press conference following the passage of the resolution, the Rev. Micah Sims and Lynne Andersson, professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, celebrated this milestone vote along with dozens of grassroots activists from labor and community organizations.

Philadelphia is part of a growing movement in which city and town councils – from Los Angeles and New York, to Duluth, Minn., and South Miami, Fla. – are calling for a constitutional amendment to curb corporate influence over elections. In addition, voters have approved similar ballot initiatives in cities and towns such as Missoula, Mont.; West Allis, Wis.; and Boulder, Colo. State legislatures in Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Mexico have called for an amendment as well, and similar resolutions have been introduced in 25 states.


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