March 20, 2012
Kudos to California for Moving Ahead a Resolution Calling for Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign
Note: Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign worked with Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski to develop a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
California, which so often is ahead of the country in enacting forward-looking policies, is poised to be on the leading edge again. Today, Assembly Joint Resolution 22, which calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision and return fair elections and constitutional rights to the people, passed the California Assembly Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6-2. Next, the measure will go to the floor of the Assembly for a vote.
We strongly urge the Legislature to speedily pass this resolution. If it does, California will be among the first states in the country to do so. (Hawaii passed a similar resolution in 2010; New Mexico passed a resolution on Feb. 11, and a majority of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates have signed onto a letter calling for an amendment.)
Already, we have seen the damaging effects of Citizens United. The 2010 midterm congressional elections were swamped with corporate cash. To date, more than $90 million of outside spending has been recorded thus far for the 2012 elections. A record amount of money – some say as much as $8 billion – is likely to be spent on this year’s federal election cycle, with a large amount of that coming from corporations.
The more beholden our elected officials are to corporations, the worse off our democracy will be. People throughout the country understand this and are beginning to rise up and call for change. Elected officials in more than 100 cities and towns have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment, including 11 that have been passed in California in cities, such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Richmond and Davis.
As the movement grows, Public Citizen has helped lead the introduction of similar resolutions in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maryland, and has supported the efforts of local activists and lawmakers who have introduced similar resolutions in Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and New York. In total, resolutions have been introduced or passed in 16 states. Public Citizen is leading a coordinated effort to pass hundreds of similar resolutions at the local level the week of June 11. More information about this effort – and a map of resolutions introduced and passed – can be found at www.resolutionsweek.org.
California’s lawmakers should do everything they can to support those efforts. Passing this resolution quickly would be a great start.
To learn more about Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign, visit: http://democracyisforpeople.org.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.