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Groundswell for reform

by Burkely Hermann

Recently, Every Voice came out with a new poll on money in politics, showing how American voters spanning political spectrum in twelve battleground states reject the idea the huge amount of money spent in the political system is “business as usual.”

The poll shows intense dislike of money interfering with elections. The poll shows that while more than 62 percent of voters support plans to reform campaign finance to empower small donors, super PACs are seen negatively. Additionally, 65 percent of voters feel that spending lots of money on elections “is wrong and leads to our elected officials representing the views of the wealthy.”

The results of this poll should be no surprise. After all, Americans have expressed a desire to reform the campaign finance system in the past. For example, in a 2011 Washington-ABC News poll, 69 percent of American voters said that they would like super PACs to be illegal and in a June 2013 Gallup poll, 79 percent of Americans said they would support “limiting the amount of money that U.S. House and Senate candidates can raise and spend for their campaigns.”

A Rasmussen poll shows that a majority of Americans believe that “elections are rigged in favor of incumbents.” Commentator Ezra Klein says that while the game is indeed rigged in favor of incumbents, voters could fix many of the problems that ail our election system by being more active on the issue.

The time for action is now. The American people already overwhelmingly support campaign finance reform. In polls by the Washington Post and Free Speech for People, a majority of the Americans have shown that they oppose the Citizens United decision, want to see a return to reasonable limits on campaign spending, and would like to see a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision.

If we are really serious about limiting the influence of major corporations and the super-rich in the political arena then a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and pushing forward campaign finance reforms like small-donor focused public financing and transparency reforms (i.e. the DISCLOSE Act), and the SEC rule requiring corporate political spending disclosure is the way to go.

People are motivated to stem the tide of money flooding the political arena. A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United is needed to reclaim our political system from the wealthy few.

Ready to add to the groundswell for reform? Take action with any one of Public Citizen’s campaigns listed below:

Ask your senators to sponsor a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and McCutcheon

Tell the SEC to require corporations to disclose their political spending

Sign a petition calling for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics

Burkely Hermann is a summer intern for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and part of Public Citizen’s Online Action Team