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Twelve Years Since Citizens United, Big Money Corruption Keeps Getting Worse

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today marks 12 years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision.

Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“This week we were outraged to watch two senators stand in the way of improving democracy. In addition to protecting our right to vote, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would have been the first blow struck against the overreaching Citizens United vs. FEC decision which happened more than a decade ago. Shockingly, it has been 12 long years, and neither regulators nor Congress have tackled the dark money tidal wave caused by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The secret political spending we have seen over the last 12 years has corrupted our political process toward corporate interests and robbed citizens of authentic representation. It plays a large role in the failures to defend our democracy, pass Build Back Better, address climate change, fix our healthcare system, and much more.

“The amount of money flowing into our elections is unprecedented and increases every cycle. A handful of billionaires exert enormous influence over our politics. And as a result, elected officials have grown ever more responsive to the desires of corporations and the ultrawealthy at the expense of their constituents. This week we witnessed a recalcitrant few stymie the will of the majority to fix our democracy. We will not rest until we succeed.” 

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“In a politically divided nation, there is virtual unanimity in opposition to the Supreme Court’s horrific Citizens United decision and the resultant super rich and corporate domination of our elections. Americans believe the system is rigged, and they are right.

“It’s hard to encapsulate the degree to which wealth dominates our elections. One measure: Just 100 people – almost all of them white – are responsible for 70% of individual contributions to Super PACs.

“The opposition to Citizens United has engendered a grassroots movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision and restore the people’s right to impose limits on campaign contributions and spending, including the commonsense right to prohibit corporate contributions. Twenty-two states and 800 cities and towns have passed resolutions calling for an amendment. Momentum continues to grow and the day is not long off when we will win a constitutional amendment and overthrow the shackles of Citizens United.”