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Public Citizen Applauds Reintroduction of Democracy for All Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) today reintroduced the Democracy for All Amendment, which would overturn Citizens United vs. FEC. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following response:

“Public Citizen applauds the introduction of the desperately needed Democracy for All constitutional amendment by Reps. Adam Schiff, Dean Phillips, Pramila Jayapal and Jim McGovern. The amendment would overturn Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo and restore the right of We the People to impose reasonable limits on campaign spending.

“There is a direct line from the U.S. Supreme Court’s horrific Citizens United decision to the rise of fascistic movements threatening the very existence of our democracy.

“In entrenching the ‘right’ of corporations and the super-rich to spend whatever they choose to influence election outcomes, Citizens United transformed our campaign finance system from flawed to frightful.

“Citizens United has entrenched an American oligarchy. As one shocking measure of this oligarchic control: The top 100 donors are responsible for two-thirds of all Super PAC contributions. Just 100 people!

“The tiny number of individuals – overwhelmingly white men – and corporations that dominate election spending exert an outsized and undemocratic effect on who runs for office, how candidates campaign, what policies are debated, who wins, and what are considered the boundaries of legitimate policy debate.

“It is this system that explains, as much as any other factor, why Americans are denied the policies they overwhelmingly favor: lowering drug prices, raising the minimum wage, protecting clean water, breaking up the Big Banks, making corporations and the rich pay their fair share of taxes, mitigating climate chaos, expanding Medicare, and much more.

“The reality and perception of super rich and corporate control of our politics – as well as the failure of the government to address the felt needs of people across the nation – fuels despair and alienation. It creates ripe conditions for conspiracists and demagogues to offer false solutions and appeal to people’s worst instincts. It has fueled the fascistic movements that pose a clear and present danger to our democratic future.

“We can’t go on like this – and there’s no reason we should. Citizens United is unmoored from the constitution and basic notions of democracy accountability. It’s time for it to be overturned by the Democracy for All amendment.

“The public is demanding action. Four in five Americans oppose Citizens United. Twenty-two states and more than 800 cities and towns have passed resolutions or ballot initiatives calling for a constitutional amendment, and millions have signed petitions calling for an amendment.”