Public Citizen Supports Bipartisan Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) today reintroduced a bipartisan constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics and restore democratic power to the American people.

The Democracy for All Amendment (H.J.Res. 1) affirms the right of states and the federal government to pass laws that regulate spending in elections, reversing the concentration of political influence held by the wealthiest Americans and large corporations capable of spending billions of dollars in our elections. This legislation comes on the 11th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in the Citizens United case, which gave corporations and America’s wealthiest individuals the ability to corrupt our elections and undermine our democracy.

Cosponsors include Reps. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.), Joy Beatty (D-Ohio.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Dean Phillips (D-Minne), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.)

In the 116th Congress, the Democracy for All Amendment had 221 bipartisan cosponsors.

Rep. Deutch: “The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United put an unacceptable price of admission on American democracy. We cannot allow the wealthiest individuals and corporations to flood our elections with cash through complex webs of Super PACs and dark money groups that put special interests above the will of the American people. Americans overwhelmingly support stronger gun laws to keep our communities safe, action on climate change to preserve our planet, and a fair economy that doesn’t leave the most vulnerable behind or deny people basic needs like health care and a living wage. Unfortunately, big money in our politics gets in the way time and time again. Limitless campaign spending makes it harder for Washington to solve problems and opens the door to corruption. To ensure that our elections produce a democracy for all, we must overturn Citizens United and get big money out of our elections.”

Rep. Katko: “Today, on the anniversary of the Citizens United ruling, I’m pleased to once again join my colleagues in introducing the Democracy for All Amendment, which would make essential reforms to our nation’s campaign finance system. The Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United made clear that a constitutional amendment would be required to address the outsized role of money in politics. In Congress, I’ve been a champion of these commonsense reforms and will keep working to restore democratic power to the American people.”

Rep. McGovern: “We cannot continue to stand by as the American people suffer because wealthy special interests and corporations are able to spend unlimited money each and every election cycle. We must do better for the front-line workers who need PPE and a lifeline to keep their families safe. We need to combat climate change, prevent gun violence, and lower health care costs. Too often, big money and special interests stand in the way, and overturning Citizens United is the best way to restore power to the ballot box and get big money out of politics once and for all.”

Rep. Raskin: “The Citizens United decision was a major error and a departure from the founding truth of our democracy, that political power must flow from the people. We have seen the damage it has caused in the hundreds of millions of dollars of dark money pouring unaccountably into our political system from corporations without the consent or even knowledge of their shareholders. We must reclaim our democracy for the people and this amendment puts us on the path.”

Rep. Sarbanes, Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force: “The Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United ruling has eroded our democracy and allowed an unprecedented flood of secret, special-interest money to pour into our political system. But House Democrats are fighting back and working tirelessly to clean up the corrupt status quo in Washington by advancing efforts like the Democracy For All Amendment and H.R. 1, the For the People Act – a transformational package of anti-corruption and clean election reforms. I want to commend Congressman Deutch, a key leader on our Democracy Reform Task Force, for once again spearheading this important effort to push back against the Citizen United decision and restore trust, transparency and integrity to Washington.”

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen: “This unites the American people: They are furious about a rigged political system that responds to the whims of Big Money rather than the needs and desires of regular people. The American people know that Citizens United embodies, perpetuates and locks in that rigged system. That’s why by overwhelming numbers they favor a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related decisions that create an overclass of the wealthy few and consign the rest of us to political serfdom. Every Member of Congress should co-sponsor the Democracy is for All Amendment, and the day is not far off when two-thirds majority in both houses will. Public Citizen thanks Reps. Deutch, McGovern, Raskin and Katko for leading the way to what will be the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way: “Money in politics impacts every major issue facing our nation. Supreme Court cases like Citizens United have allowed unlimited outside political spending, and without an amendment to the Constitution we will be left fighting an uphill battle against powerful special interests with bottomless bank accounts. Whether it’s confronting economic inequality or fighting for access to health care and education, big money is able to buy outsized influence in our democracy. On behalf of our 1.5 million members, we wholeheartedly support the reintroduction of the Democracy For All amendment. Americans from all walks of life are ready for bold reforms to build a democracy that truly represents the will of the people.”

Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause: “Americans expect and deserve that our democracy works for everyone, regardless of the size of our wallets. For far too long, megadonors, wealthy special interests, and corporate lobbyists have had a megaphone to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. We greatly appreciate Representative Deutch for championing the Democracy for All Amendment to help get big money out of politics and ensure that all Americans can have a greater voice in our democracy.”

Jeff Clement, president and CEO, American Promise: “We commend the cross-partisan leadership supporting the Democracy For All Amendment. A constitutional amendment like this will end the dominance of big money in our elections, usher in new voting and anti-corruption reforms, and place power back in the hands of the American people. Americans from across the political spectrum are tired of big money elections drowning out our voices. As America is still reeling from the toxic disinformation driven by the $14 billion price tag of the 2020 election cycle, we look forward to bringing all Americans together to pass and ratify this constitutional amendment to restore faith in our democracy and the voice of all Americans.”

Tiffany Muller, president, End Citizens United / Let America Vote Action Fund: “The Citizens United decision has polluted our democracy by allowing big money to silence the voices of everyday people–including $2.9 billion in outside spending in the 2020 election alone. Americans are tired of a political system that too often works for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else. We unequivocally support the Democracy for All amendment and applaud Reps. Deutch, McGovern, and Raskin for their commitment to unrigging the system and ending the dominance of special interest money in politics.”

Jana Morgan, director of the Declaration for American Democracy: “We commend our congressional leaders for the introduction of Democracy for All Amendment, making it clear that our government should be representative of all Americans, and not just of corporate and elite interests. Creating an equitable democracy starts with curbing unfettered spending and eliminating the influence of big money in politics. This amendment will bring us closer to achieving our foundational ideal, that America is truly governed for and by the people.”

John Bonifaz, co-founder and president of Free Speech For People: “Now more than ever, we must stand up to protect our republic. Across the political spectrum, Americans want a constitutional amendment which will reclaim our democracy. The Democracy For All Amendment would allow for overall campaign spending limits and would end the big money dominance of our elections. We applaud the re-introduction of this amendment, and we urge Congress to pass it and send it to the states for ratification.”