Common Cause

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Chicago City Council Stands Up to U.S. Supreme Court; Calls on Congress to Pass Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United v. FEC

CHICAGO - Just weeks after the Supreme Court dealt a blow to campaign finance reform efforts in Montana, the Chicago City Council fought back Wednesday with passage of a resolution calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which swept away a century of precedent limiting corporate spending on elections.

"I'm proud of our City. With our vote today, the City of Chicago City Council joined a growing chorus of cities and towns across America who have raised their collective voice against the corrosive effect of corporate money on our democratic process,” said Alderman Joe Moore. “As the elected officials closest to the people, we've witnessed firsthand the devastating impact on our communities of federal spending and tax policies driven by the wealthy few at the expense of the many. These policies exist because the wealthy and powerful dominate the debate and drown out opposing views. It is time we restore our democracy to the people."

The drive to pass the city council resolution was led by Common Cause, Illinois PIRG, MoveOn, Move to Amend and Public Citizen’s Democracy is for People Campaign. These organizations worked together with Alderman Joe Moore, who championed the effort in City Council. The resolution received 38 initial co-sponsors and was passed unanimously.

“Chicago’s passage of this resolution shows that, regardless of what the activist Supreme Court does, we will not stand by and lose our democracy,” said Rey Lopez-Calderon, executive director of Common Cause Illinois. “We will not be slaves, in the classical sense – we will not be people governed by plutocrats. We will be free people. A major city like Chicago, making a statement like this, sends a strong message that will be heard all the way to the halls of Congress.”

Public support leading up to the vote on the resolution was widespread. Over 100 constituents showed up to a public hearing on the resolution prior to today’s vote. At that hearing, the standing-room only crowd applauded as organizational representatives and average citizens testified in favor of the measure.

“Citizens United is a radical strike against the foundation of our democracy,” said Lyle Hyde, activist and local spokesperson for Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign. Noting that Citizens United is unprecedented historically, Hyde further stated that “We can only overcome the power of unlimited big money to corrupt our elections and our government through a constitutional amendment.”

Chicago joins more than 280 other cities and 6 states across the country in denouncing Citizens United and calling for a constitutional amendment.

In November, Chicago voters will also be able to voice their support for a constitutional amendment through a ballot measure that was referred to voters by the City Council when today’s resolution was originally introduced.


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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

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