Two years have now passed since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its unbelievably bad Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. The bad effects of that opinion must be changed and I’m fairly certain the Court won’t do it. Instead, it will take a constitutional amendment to get the job done. There is an urgent need to overturn the decision and ensure that democracy is for people – not corporations – and I believe the time is ripe for Congress to act.
There is a growing disgust across the land with the obscene amounts of money being spent in politics, a direct result of the high court’s ruling. There also is an increasing awareness among ordinary citizens of the corrupting influence corporations have over politics in this country. Public Citizen has led the fight to correct the problems caused by the Court’s ruling and fortunately the consumer advocacy group is continuing the fight.
The Supreme Court’s ruling, issued on Jan. 21, 2010, said that corporations can spend unlimited sums to influence elections. The effect on that year’s midterm Congressional elections was immediate. We are now seeing massive amounts of corporate money being funneled into the presidential primaries. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, had this to say:
Citizens United subverts the essence of democracy, which means rule by the people. Overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision with a constitutional amendment is the first step in fixing our broken political system and opening the door to address the great challenges facing the country, from putting people back to work to averting catastrophic climate change.
In the wake of the Citizens United ruling, campaign spending by outside groups has skyrocketed. In the 2010 election cycle, the first since the Supreme Court ruling, outside groups spent well over $300 million. A huge number of Super PACs have been created, amassing huge amounts of money used for attack ads. A prime example is Restore Our Future, the Mitt Romney-supported Super PAC, that has used ads against Newt Gingrich. Meanwhile, Republican strategist Karl Rove and his Crossroads groups are going to raise and spend $240 million in the 2012 elections. The infamous Koch brothers say they plan to spend at least $200 million. All this corporate money promises to help make this election record-setting.
Public Citizen is working with more than 60 organizations committed to overturning the Supreme Court’s decision by way of a constitutional amendment. According to all recent polling, the vast majority of the American people believe there is too much money being spent in politics. But to get the needed change, it will take a grassroots movement. There are a number of organizations that are working with Public Citizen to bring about the change. Information about Public Citizen’s amendment campaign is available at www.DemocracyIsForPeople.org.
If you agree that spending in politics should be controlled, get involved with Public Citizen and the other groups and work for the needed change. It would help for you to contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives and ask for their help.
Source: Public Citizen
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