With Democrats now controlling the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., pointing to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United, is leading the charge for a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform.
On Thursday, Deutch joined U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Jamie Raskin, D-Mary., and John Katko, R-NY, to unveil what they are dubbing the “Democracy for All Amendment.” Thursday marked the first day of Democratic control of the House.
“The Democracy for All Amendment affirms the right of states and the federal government to pass laws that regulate spending in elections, reversing the concentration of political influence held by the wealthiest Americans and large corporations capable of spending millions of dollars in our elections. This legislation comes days before the ninth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in the Citizens United case,” Deutch’s office insisted.
“Years after the Citizens United decision, election spending has exploded into billion-dollar races that corrupt our elections by drowning out the voices of American voters,” said Deutch. “Meaningful political participation cannot be reserved for individuals with extreme wealth and special interests, and we cannot continue to allow those who spend the most to dictate public policy that is out of step with our country. From climate change to gun violence, the issues that are most important to the American people are dominated by the will of the bottomless pockets that fund elections rather than the will of voters. We need to overturn Citizens United to get big money out of politics, strengthen our democracy, and restore power to the American people.”
“Let’s not mince words here – for too long, the needs of the American people have taken a backseat to the needs of corporations that dump unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns,” said McGovern. “From gun violence to healthcare costs to climate change, the issues Americans care about have been held hostage by wealthy special interests. No more. We have got to solve this, and we have to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision to restore the power of the ballot box and get big money out of politics.”
“In Citizens United, five Supreme Court Justices overturned two centuries of jurisprudence to determine that private corporations enjoy the political free speech rights of the people,” Raskin said. “As hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money are spent by CEOs in the name of their unwitting shareholders, we are seeing what Court-ordered plutocracy looks like. But the democracy is stirring. As the exciting 116th Congress convenes, it’s time we remind America of what popular government looks like—that’s why I’m proud to support this bipartisan Amendment to rebuild the wall of separation between massive private corporations and the people’s public elections.”
“I have long supported a constitutional amendment to reform our campaign finance system and firmly believe that we must take a bipartisan approach to make this happen,” Katko said. “I’m proud to join Rep. Deutch and a number of my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation today, as we take the first step in the new Congress towards real reform.”
A host of mostly left-leaning groups including Public Citizen, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Free Speech for People and American Promise backed the proposed amendment.