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Sept. 21, 2012  

Arlington, Va. Becomes 300th Community to Support a Constitutional Amendment to Get Corporate Money Out of Politics

Amendment Would Lead to Greater Transparency and Stronger Democracy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Arlington, Va. became the 300th community in the country to pass a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The five-member County Board of Arlington voted unanimously on the measure Tuesday.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court said that corporations may spend unlimited sums to influence elections. Since then, elections have been awash in record amounts of cash, and corporate-backed ads have inundated the airwaves like never before.

Following the 2010 decision, super PACs, trade associations and other groups – many of which can hide the identities of their donors – have spent millions of dollars to sway elections, in some cases outspending individual campaigns by a ratio of 2-to-1. The top 1 percent of super PAC donors in 2011–2012 accounted for more than 59 percent of the total money raised, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

As more and more towns, cities and counties around the country endorse an amendment, pressure is mounting on state and federal politicians to do the same. Already, seven state legislatures have called for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. Recently, President Barack Obama publicized his support for a constitutional amendment in a Reddit chat room. In addition, more than 125 members of Congress have indicated they support an amendment.

“Americans expect elected officials to serve the voters, not the highest bidder,” said Aquene Freechild, organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. “Given the obscene amount of money from corporations and the ultra-rich that has flooded the congressional and presidential elections, it’s no wonder that polls show an overwhelming percentage of all Americans feel corporations have too much influence in elections.”

 To learn more about Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign, visit http://democracyisforpeople.org.

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