Warning that “American democracy is under attack,” Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday introduced a constitutional amendment to undo a Supreme Court ruling that allowed unrestricted and secret campaign spending by corporations.
The 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – handed down five years ago today – undermined democracy by opening the floodgates on campaign funding. As a result, a record $7 billion was spent in the 2012 election cycle and $3.7 billion in the 2014 cycle.
“Five years ago today, the Supreme Court issued what I think is one of the most disastrous decisions in its history, Citizens United v. FEC, which led to the rise of super PACs and unlimited, supposedly independent, spending.”
Vermont and 15 other states along with voters and city councils in more than 600 cities and towns already have passed measures supporting a constitutional amendment. The Brennan Center for Justice recently reported that since the Citizens United decision super PACs have spent more than $1 billion and almost 60 percent of that money came from just 195 donors and their spouses.
A similar constitutional amendment was introduced by Sanders in the last session of Congress. An amendment originating in Congress must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate in order to be submitted for consideration by the states. Ratification by three-fourths of the states is required to amend the Constitution.
To read the amendment, click here.
For a fact sheet on the amendment, click here.