California on Thursday became the largest state in the nation to urge Congress to draft a constitutional amendment to overturn the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
The state Senate voted 24 to 11 to approve Assembly Joint Resolution 22, authored by Assembly members Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Michael Allen (D-Sonoma), which call for a restoration of campaign finance laws that would eliminate unlimited corporate and private money in US election campaigns. The 2010 Citizens United ruling ignored long-standing precedent and allows corporations and so called 'Super PACs' to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates. The state Assembly passed the resolution in March.
“[The Senate's] vote sends a clear message that California rejects this misguided ruling made by the conservative activists on the Supreme Court,” said Wieckowski. “The Legislature’s action and the 50,000 Californians who wrote in support of AJR 22, show that it is time to restore sanity to our campaign finance laws. If Congress doesn’t act, our electoral process will be more dominated by millionaires and billionaires and their concerns will drown out the voice of common Americans.”
Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen which is helping to spearhead the grassroots opposition against Citizens United across the country, described the importance of amending the constitution.
“Unless we aim to turn over control of our elections to Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Sheldon Adelson and a very few others, we need a constitutional amendment to reset our campaign finance system and to re-establish the principle that democracy means rule by the people, not giant corporations.”
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