In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC ruling four years ago, millions of Americans across the political spectrum have mobilized in support of a constitutional amendment that would overturn that ruling and restore republican democracy to the people. On Tuesday, June 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a historic hearing on this matter. Some may try to claim that this is a partisan fight. But this is not about one party or another. It is a fight for all Americans.
People across the nation, regardless of their political affiliation, are making clear that special interest money – whether from corporations, unions, or wealthy individuals – should not drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. In fact, more than 100 Republican officials since the Citizens United ruling have joined the call for a constitutional amendment that would end our current system of unlimited campaign spending. Most of those officials have done so by voting for resolutions in their state legislatures calling for such an amendment.
Further, public opinion research has long indicated robust popular support for an amendment, across party lines. For example, a 2010/2011 Peter Hart poll found that 79 percent of Americans, including 68 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of independents, and 87 percent of Democrats support such an amendment.
And, a 2012 Associated Press poll found that 83 percent of Americans, including 81 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents, and 85 percent of Democrats believe “there should be limits on the amount of money corporations, unions, and other organizations can contribute to outside organizations trying to influence campaigns for President, Senate, and U.S. House.”
The best poll, of course, is an actual vote of the people, such as the statewide votes held in November 2012 in Colorado and Montana on ballot questions calling for a constitutional amendment. Both votes demonstrated similarly strong support: 74 percent of Coloradans approved Amendment 65; Montanans approved Initiative 166, also by 74 percent, while simultaneously backing Mitt Romney for President by a margin of more than 10 points.
In addition, more than 2,000 business leaders throughout the nation have voiced their support of an amendment. They understand that a political system which allows the largest corporations in our country to exercise disproportionate influence over our public policy stifles competition in the marketplace and harms our economy.