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Movement Strengthens: Oregon Becomes the 16th State to Call for an Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Statement by Aquene Freechild, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

July 1, 2013

The movement to get money out of politics and establish that constitutional rights are for people, not corporations, is gaining ground by the day. Today, the Oregon Legislature passed House Joint Memorial 6 (HJM 6), becoming the 16th state to call on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The bipartisan measure passed the state House by a 48-11 margin, with 14 Republican votes (the majority of state House Republicans), and the state Senate by a 17-13 margin, with one Republican, Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany), voting in favor.

We're thankful for Oregonians for Restoring Constitutional Democracy; this huge win for campaign finance reform could not have happened without them and the amazing grassroots effort by the coalition, which includes Common Cause Oregon, Move to Amend, Main Street Alliance and the Democracy Alliance.

That effort paid off: Lincoln County and Eugene have both passed ballot initiatives calling for an overturn of Citizens United, and Newport, Port Orford, Portland, West Linn and Yachats town or city councils have passed resolutions calling for an amendment. These cities and towns in Oregon are among the nearly 500 municipalities around the country that have called for a constitutional amendment. They all recognize that Citizens United, which gave corporations a green light to spend unlimited amounts to influence elections, is corrosive to democracy because it gives people less power and corporations even more sway over policies that affect us all.

Oregon joins four other states – Delaware, Maine, West Virginia and Illinois – that have called for a constitutional amendment over just the past two months. All of the resolutions this year have passed with bipartisan support in at least one chamber. This is an issue that affects every American, regardless of political affiliation.

The other states that have called for an amendment to overturn Citizens United are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado and Montana. The Washington, D.C., Council has called for an amendment as well.

After this crucial victory, it is time for Oregon to take this fight to the national stage and persuade Oregon’s congressional delegation to commit to a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Already, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader – all Democrats from Oregon – are co-sponsors for resolutions in Congress. They are among more than 100 current members of Congress who have co-sponsored an amendment during this congressional session.

We call on U.S. Reps. Susan Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) to hear the people and legislature of Oregon – their constituents – and co-sponsor an amendment in the 113th Congress.

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