With Monday marking the ninth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, campaign finance watchdogs say it's more urgent than ever to address "the degradation of our democracy" and overturn the 2010 decision which opened the floodgates to unlimited spending by corporate interests and the super wealthy.
Among its critics is the advocacy group Public Citizen, which argued in a Twitter thread that "Until #CitizensUnited is overturned, the corporate oligarchy will maintain the power to block the policies favored by the majority of Americans—from raising the minimum wage to addressing catastrophic climate change, breaking up Wall Street banks to winning #MedicareForAll."
With President Donald Trump pushing the Supreme Court rightward, Public Citizen says the best hope lies in a successful push for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. The group sees hope in a new piece of far-reaching legislation—House Resolution 1 (HR1)—and the fact that is has 223 cosponsors.
That legislation, as outlined in a statement from Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who introduced the measure this month, "shines a light on dark money in politics" and "levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, creating a multiple matching system for small donations and allowing the American people to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world, while reaffirming that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics."
In the all-Trump media environment, it’s easy to think Trump himself is the source of all our problems. But it goes much deeper. So long as a handful of big money donors have outsized influence over who's elected and what's debated in Congress, our democracy will remain broken.— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) January 21, 2019
Had the presidential election turned out differently, the Supreme Court would’ve likely overturned #CitizensUnited. But it didn’t—and there’s no reason to expect relief from SCOTUS anytime soon. That reality makes our movement to win a constitutional amendment all the more vital.— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) January 21, 2019
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19 states—half the total we need to win approval—have passed resolutions supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn #CitizensUnited— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) January 21, 2019
750 cities and towns across the US have approved resolutions
Millions of Americans have signed petitions calling for an amendment
In 2019, House Dems have made their first legislative priority (#HR1) a sweeping pro-democracy and anti-corruption package that includes support for a constitutional amendment overturning #CitizensUnited. https://t.co/Dcav9rh97w— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) January 21, 2019
Without question, this is a dark time for our country and our democracy. But so long as we keep putting in the work, we will overturn #CitizensUnited and address the growing crisis of government capture by corporations and the super-rich.— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) January 21, 2019
Common Cause has also applauded HR1, calling the bill the "most sweeping pro-democracy legislation in 50 years."
And the Campaign Legal Center similarly called HR1 "a sorely needed solution to this and other problems in our democracy."
Nine years ago today, the Supreme Court issued its #CitizensUnited decision, part of a disturbing trend has led to unprecedented dark money in campaigns. #HR1, the #ForThePeople Act, is a sorely needed solution to this and other problems in our democracy. https://t.co/2BBkqY0Lzo— Campaign Legal Center (@CampaignLegal) January 21, 2019