For Immediate Release
Dozens of Congressional Candidates Pledge to Support a Constitutional Amendment Overturning Court Ruling Enabling Corporations to Swamp Elections
Candidates From Throughout Country Agree That Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling Subverts Democracy
WASHINGTON - Dozens of candidates
for Congress have pledged to support a constitutional amendment to overturn a
controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling and thereby help ensure that elections
are not hijacked by corporations. The candidates responded to a call from People
For the American Way
and Public Citizen, which last month launched the pledge drive at www.PledgeForDemocracy.org
The Supreme Court in January ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
that corporations can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections. Upcoming
congressional elections are expected to be swamped with ads and fliers paid for
by corporate interests. Already, new organizations have been formed to take advantage
of the ruling.
At this early stage of the pledge campaign, 48 congressional
candidates already have signed the pledge to support such an amendment - 35
candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and 13 candidates for U.S. Senate.
They are competing in races in more than two dozen states, ranging from Alaska and Idaho to Florida and Illinois.
A complete list of candidates who have taken the pledge is below.
"Americans are fed up with government that
responds to corporate money, not the needs of ordinary Americans," said Michael B. Keegan, president of People For the
American Way. "The depth of feeling is palpable. We've already seen
that candidates who want to serve their constituents have been eager to sign
onto this campaign. More are signing on every day, and we're confident
that pace will only increase."
Added Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, "Corporations
already rule the roost in Washington.
Witness the oil industry's free pass to drill offshore without adequate
environmental scrutiny or the health insurance industry's enormous
influence over the outcome of the health care debate, to name just two of
countless examples. The Supreme Court's decision threatens to make a bad
situation exponentially worse. We applaud candidates who stand up and say that
this must be stopped."
In 2008, to take just one example, ExxonMobil's
profits amounted to more than $85 billion. If Citizens United had been the law in that year and the
company had spent a modest 10 percent of its profits - $8.5 billion
- to elect its friends and defeat its enemies, it would have amounted to
more than was spent by the Obama campaign, the McCain campaign, every U.S.
House and Senate candidate, and every state legislative candidate in the
country combined. If
mega-corporations want to flood elections with money to promote or defeat
candidates, they have the cash to do so.
While interim measures - such as disclosing the identities
of campaign ad funders and giving more power to shareholders over corporate
political expenditures - can help, the only way to overturn the decision
is through a constitutional amendment. Public Citizen and People For the
American Way support an amendment spelling out that corporations, with the
exception of the media, do not have the same First Amendment rights as people.
At PledgeForDemocracy.org, voters can use an
interactive map to learn who has taken the pledge - and who hasn't.
People For the American Way
and Public Citizen are calling on voters to contact candidates who have not pledged
and urge them to do so.
Candidates who have taken the pledge include: House candidates: Rep. Steve Cohen (D, Tenn.
09), Rep. Donna Edwards (D, Md. 04), Rep. Alan Grayson (D, Fla. 08), Rep. Raul
Grijalva (D, Ariz. 07), Rep. John Hall (D, N.Y. 19), Rep. Betty Sutton (D, Ohio
13), Timothy Allison (D, Calif. 24), Kevin Bradley (D, Colo. 05), Macdonald
King D'Alessandro (D, Mass. 09), Rafael "Del" del Castillo (D,
Hawaii 01), Justin Coussoule (D, Ohio 08), Jeff Gregory (D, N.C. 10), Bill
Hedrick (D, Calif. 44), Jim Holbert (D, Ky. 05), Travis Irvine (Lib., Ohio 12),
Fred Johnson (D, MI 02), Joseph Krysztoforski (R, Md. 06), Ann McLane Kuster
(D, N.H. 02), Brian Lentz (D, Pa. 07), Ed Marksberry (D, Ky. 02),
Scott Narter (Independent American Party, Nev. 03), Roy Olson (Green, Wash.
09), Michael Pipe (D, Pa. 05), Nancy Price (D, Nev. 02), Brian Schad (I, Idaho
02), William Scheurer (Green, Ill. 08), David Alan Segal (D, R.I. 01), Perry
Steele (I, Tenn. 09), Gary Stein (D, N.J. 02), Katrina Swett (D, N.H. 02), Manan
Trivedi (D, Pa. 06), John Waltz (D, Ky. 04), David Whitaker (D, Ark. 03), Dave
John White (I, Okla. 05) and Kyle Yarber (I, Mo. 06).
William Barnes (D, Ala.), Roxanne Conlin (D, Iowa), Chris
Coons (D, Del..),
Lee Fisher (D, Ohio), Alexi Giannoulias (D, Ill.), John Gray (Grn., Ark.), Frederick
Haase (Lib., Alaska), Rep. Paul Hodes (D, N.H.), Daniel La Botz (Soc., Ohio), Elaine
Marshall (D, N.C.), Tracy Potter (D, N.D.), Duane Roberts (Green, Calif.) and Rick
Staggenborg (Green, Ore.).