Public Citizen President Warns Congressional Committee That Citizens United Empowers Megadonors and a Small Corporate Class to Continue Corrupting Our Democracy
U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee Heard Testimony on the Need for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Harmful 2010 Decision
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United ruling has further corrupted America’s campaign finance system, elections and democracy, and lawmakers should pass a constitutional amendment to overturn it, Public Citizen President Robert Weissman told lawmakers today in testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
Weissman told the committee that America’s post-Citizens United campaign finance system, much as Public Citizen predicted a decade ago, is now overrun with corporate, unaccountable, dark money influencers who have rendered our government unresponsive to We the People and obedient to a select group of political megadonors and the corporate class.
“On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court took the nation off course, because Citizens United empowered a very tiny class of individuals and corporations to dominate our elections,” Weissman told the committee. “The decision now stands as the defining judicial decision of the New Gilded Age and both reflects and worsens the rigged political system that infuriates Americans of all political stripes – and the staggering wealth and income inequality that is the product of the rigged system.”
Weissman’s testimony follows the January release of Public Citizen research showing that since the 2010 Citizens United decision, just 25 ultrawealthy donors have been responsible for nearly half (47%) of all contributions by individuals to super PACs, providing $1.4 billion in super PAC contributions out of $2.96 billion in super PAC contributions from individuals.
Even worse, because of Citizens United and the subsequent proliferation of dark money groups, it is not possible to know precisely how much money corporations have channeled into American elections.
“Now is the time for Congress to act,” Weissman said. “This House has taken a first, vital step, with passage last March of H.R.1, the For the People Act, the most sweeping pro-democracy measure of the past 50 years. Now the House should follow by providing a two-thirds margin for the Democracy For All Amendment, which would overturn Citizens United and restore the right of Congress and the states to set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.”
Read Weissman’s testimony here.