March 12, 2013
“Democracy Is For People” Constitutional Amendment Would Overturn Citizens United, End Corporate Spending in Elections
New Amendment Introduced by Sen. Sanders and Rep. Deutch Today
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen praised the new constitutional amendment proposal introduced today by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) to end unlimited and undisclosed corporate financing of American elections. The amendment proposal is titled the “Democracy Is For People” Amendment, after Public Citizen’s amendment campaign of the same name.
Public Citizen said that both lawmakers once again are showing their creative leadership in the campaign for a constitutional amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Sanders and Deutch were at the forefront of the campaign immediately following the decision, and they continue their leadership today.
“The Democracy is for People Amendment introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ted Deutch to overturn Citizens United will eliminate unaccountable corporate spending in our elections and restore governmental authority over campaign spending to the people,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “Democracy is rule by the people, after all, not rule by Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”
“At the heart of the constitutional amendment campaign is the absolute right of only individual citizens to participate in our elections,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “Public Citizen thanks Sen. Sanders and Rep. Deutch for their continued courage and leadership in this critical battle to restore the First Amendment to its rightful place as a guarantee of freedom of speech for the people of the United States.”
In Citizens United, five justices overturned decades-old legal precedent and a century of political tradition when they granted corporations the same free speech rights as people, allowing Big Business and the ultra-wealthy to spend unlimited funds promoting or attacking candidates in state and federal elections.
The decision has been roundly condemned not only by the other four justices on the court, but also by an overwhelming majority of the American public. Poll after poll show overwhelming opposition to the ruling, regardless of whether the person polled is a Democrat, Independent or Republican.
So far, 11 states, the District of Columbia and more than 400 cities and towns have called on Congress to put forward a constitutional amendment that reverses Citizens United. In the last congressional session, no fewer than 17 constitutional amendment proposals were introduced, and the new congressional session is likely to see at least as many.
An analysis of the Democracy is for People Amendment is available here.
Public Citizen is also asking supporters to contact their members of Congress and ask them to support the Democracy Is For People Amendment http://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12139.