Feb. 13, 2012 

Public Citizen, California Residents Call for Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

More Than 10,000 People Urge California Assembly to Reform Corporate Political Spending 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –California residents want a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, as evidenced by a Public Citizen, CALPIRG and Common Cause letter signed by more than 10,000 people, delivered today to a California Assembly chairperson.

The letter, sent to Assemblyperson Paul Fong, chair of the California Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, calls on the California State Legislature to pass AJR 22, which would put the California State Legislature on record as calling for an amendment to overturn Citizens United.

In the wake of the Citizens United decision, campaign spending by outside groups has skyrocketed. In the 2010 election cycle, the first since the Supreme Court decision, outside groups spent nearly $300 million nationwide. That year, a single Super PAC, Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, spent more than $3.2 million in attack ads against U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Her opponent, Carly Fiorina, had less than $200,000 in outside organization money spent against her by all groups combined. So far in the 2012 election cycle, Super PACs have raised nearly $100 million – and there still is nine months to go until Election Day.

“The outpouring of support for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United has been astounding in California and throughout the nation,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. “The California Legislature has an important opportunity to take leadership in this effort and to help move Congress to take action. I am confident they will take action quickly and decisively.”

Federal lawmakers have introduced 10 resolutions calling for an amendment to the Constitution that would overturn Citizens United. One, in the U.S. Senate, already has 20 co-sponsors.

A resolution already has passed in Hawaii and New Mexico. In the past month, resolutions calling for an amendment have been introduced in New York, Maine, Wisconsin, Washington and Alaska. Resolutions also are pending in Massachusetts and Vermont, and a sign-on letter calling for an amendment has gained a large number of signatures in the Maryland Legislature.  

City councils have passed resolutions calling for an amendment throughout California – including Los Angeles, Oakland, Fort Bragg, Richmond, Marina, Petaluma and Fairfax – and across the country, ranging from New York City to Duluth, Minn., and South Miami, Fla. 

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.