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Momentum Builds for Overturning Citizens United: Timeline of Key Events



January 29, 2019: Santa Fe County, New Mexico passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to confirm that constitutional rights are for human beings, not legal entities; and that political contributions and expenditures can be regulated, limited, or prohibited at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure that all citizens have access to the political process and that no person or entity gains undue influence. The resolution also required public disclosure of such contributions and expenditures. (Click here for more information.)

Nov. 19, 2018: The city of Helena, Montana passed a resolution to state that artificial entities are not endowed with constitutional rights, nor does money equal free speech, and therefore they are prohibited from making contributions or expenditures for or against a candidate or ballot issue. (Click here and here for more information.)

July 10, 2018: The city of Quincy Florida passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to clarify that federal and state governments have the power to regulate and limit election contributions and expenditures; constitutional rights are for natural persons; and corporations are subject to regulation through the legislative process. (Click here for more information.)

April 3, 2018: Sherburne County passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to provide that corporations are not natural persons, and only they have constitutional rights, and that federal, state, and local governments shall have the power to regulate contributions and

Oct 18, 2016: Oakland City Council passed a resolution affirming its opposition to Citizens United and its support for a constitutional amendment to overturn it, by officially supporting passage of Prop 59 at the state level. (Click here for more information.)

May 2015: New York becomes the 17th state to call for a constitutional amendment.

 Sept. 11, 2014: A majority of the U.S. Senate votes for the Democracy for All Amendment, a constitution amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore democracy. Although the amendment did not receive enough votes to pass, the vote was a historic step.

Sept. 10, 2014: Activists rally over the course of the week in more than a dozen cities around the country urging Republican senators to vote yes on the Democracy for All amendment, while the U.S. Senate continues the debate.

 Sept. 8, 2014: U.S. Senate begins debate on the Democracy for All amendment. Activists rally outside the U.S. Capitol and deliver more than three million petition signatures in support of an amendment. So far, 16 states, approximately 550 cities and towns, and more than 160 former and current members of Congress have indicated support for an amendment. So has President Barack Obama.

Sept. 3, 2014: Public Citizen releases a new bipartisan poll showing that voters across party lines overwhelmingly oppose Citizens United and strongly support a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision and curb the influence of money in politics. Notably, Republican and independent voters resoundingly reject anti-amendment arguments made by GOP leadership.

 Sept. 3, 2014: Activists hold protests targeting both Democrats and Republicans who have yet to state their support for the Democracy for All amendment – 50 senators support the amendment thus far.

 July 10, 2014: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee votes to bring S.J. Res. 19, the Democracy for All amendment, to the full U.S. Senate for a vote in the fall.

July 1, 2014: Activists nationwide hold more than 100 events urging their U.S. senators to back a constitutional amendment to curb the flow of money into politics.

 April 30, 2014: U.S Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announces that he will push for a vote on S.J. Res. 19, a constitutional amendment sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) that would restore power to Congress and the states to control campaign spending.

 April 2, 2014: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, striking down aggregate limits people can donate to candidates, political parties and political committees. More than 150 demonstrations in 41 states – spearheaded by Public Citizen – erupt in protest ofMcCutcheon directly after the decision.

 Sept. 24, 2013: Support for a constitutional amendment reaches the one-third threshold – of states and members of Congress needed to amend the Constitution. In addition, nearly 500 cities, towns and counties – including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia – have called for an amendment, and more than 140 members of the 2013 Congress are sponsoring an amendment.

 July 4, 2013: Oregon becomes 16th state to call for an amendment.

 June 10, 2013: Delaware becomes 15th state to call for an amendment.

 May 31, 2013: Illinois becomes 14th state to call for an amendment.

 April 30, 2013: Maine becomes 13th state to call for an amendment.

 April 10, 2013: West Virginia becomes 12th state to call for an amendment.

Feb. 5, 2013: Washington, D.C., joins the call for an amendment.

Jan. 17, 2013: Activists in more than 75 towns and cities rally on the third anniversary of Citizens United.

Dec. 19, 2012: Public Citizen releases a report showing that election spending by outside groups in 2012 began to rival the amount spent by candidates and the national parties, suggesting that outside groups may become the dominant voices in coming election cycles.

 Nov. 14, 2012: The “Democracy in Motion” tour of six New York cities kicks off. During the speaking tour, Public Citizen organizers and New York activists work to build grassroots support for a constitutional amendment and other measures to get big money out of politics. So far, 11 states and more than 350 communities have formally called for an amendment. In addition, 125 members of the 2012 Congress have expressed support for an amendment, as has President Barack Obama.

 Nov. 8, 2012: Public Citizen releases analysis of data showing that outside groups spent more than $190 million on 2012’s most competitive U.S. Senate races.

 Nov. 6, 2012: Montana and Colorado become the 10th and 11th states to call for an amendment. Voters in those states pass the ballot initiatives with over 70 percent of the vote.

 Nov. 2, 2012: Analysis from Public Citizen links Citizens United to an increase in negative advertising in elections. Findings show that more than 85 percent of unregulated independent expenditures made by the 15 biggest outside groups in the 2012 election cycle financed negative messages.

 Oct. 18, 2012: New Jersey becomes ninth state to call for an amendment.

 Sept. 12, 2012: Connecticut becomes the eighth state to call for an amendment.

Aug. 30, 2012: At this point, nearly 300 local cities, towns and counties call for a constitutional amendment. Seven state legislatures support a constitutional amendment, and 23 others introduce similar measures. In addition, 125 members of the 2012 Congress voice their support for an amendment.

Aug. 29, 2012: President Barack Obama calls for constitutional amendment, as well as other measures that would combat the overwhelming flow of corporate money into elections.

July 31, 2012: Massachusetts becomes the seventh state to call for an amendment.

 July 5, 2012: California becomes the sixth state to call for an amendment.

June 11, 2012: Public Citizen and allies organize Resolution Week, aimed at passing local resolutions that call for a constitutional amendment the week of June 11. In the months surrounding Resolution Week, roughly 300 resolutions were passed across the country due to these efforts.

 May 30, 2012: Rhode Island becomes the fifth state to call for an amendment.

May 10, 2012: Numbers show that 200 local towns and four states have called for an amendment, at least 100 members of the 2012 Congress and 85 national organizations have shown support, and petitions calling for a constitutional amendment have garnered more than 1 million signatures.

April, 2012: Maryland becomes the fourth state to call for an amendment.

 April 19, 2012: Vermont becomes the third state to call for an amendment.

 Feb. 7, 2012: New Mexico becomes the second state to call for an amendment.

 Jan 13, 2012: Approximately 150 demonstrations, rallies, protests and other events begin and continue throughout the week as the second anniversary of Citizens United looms.

 Jan. 21, 2011: On the first anniversary of the Citizens United decision, activists across the country took action in opposition to the ruling.