Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both D-Delaware, joined Sens. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico; Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire; Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and the entire Senate Democratic Caucus in introducing the Democracy for All Amendment — a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other court decisions, help get big money out of politics and put power back in the hands of the American people.
Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions have unleashed a flood of unlimited corporate spending in U.S. elections and opened the door for wealthy special interests to have an outsized voice in government. The Democracy for All Amendment gives the power back to Congress and the states to set reasonable campaign finance rules and limit corporate spending in elections. The amendment would enshrine in the Constitution the right of the American people to regulate the raising and spending of funds in public elections, and curb the concentration of political influence held by the wealthiest Americans.
“Every American deserves to have an equal voice at the ballot box, regardless of the size of their bank account,” said Carper. “Every American also deserves to know who is funding the campaigns of candidates seeking elected office. Nine years ago, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision upended decades’ worth of campaign finance laws, allowing a few wealthy individuals to wield disproportionate influence over the electoral process in secret. Americans of all political affiliations want more transparency when it comes to our elections — not less. That’s why I’m proud to join Sens. Udall and Shaheen, and all of my Senate Democratic colleagues, in introducing a straightforward constitutional amendment that will restore the health and integrity of our campaign finance system.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United to eliminate aggregate limits on the amount of money an individual can give to a political campaign is potentially one of the most damaging I have seen since joining the Senate,” said Coons. “The decision allows the wealthiest Americans and the corporations they represent to have even greater influence in our democracy. One step at a time, the Supreme Court has dismantled our efforts in Congress to limit the influence of money in the political process. This amendment would bring much needed transparency back to our campaign finance laws and give all Americans an equal voice in our elections. I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues in introducing this important, commonsense amendment to restore integrity to our electoral process.”
“In the 2014 election cycle alone, a record-breaking amount — nearly $4 billion — was spent on campaigns across the country. It’s another reminder that Congress needs to take immediate action to restore some sanity to our broken campaign finance system,” continued Coons. “Today, I’m once again proud to join the efforts being led by my friends and colleagues, Sens. Tom Udall and Sheldon Whitehouse, to shine much-needed light on political spending and to restore the long-understood ability of Congress to enact common sense campaign finance legislation.”
Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Florida.
The Democracy for All Amendment is backed by a broad range of campaign finance and government reform advocates, including End Citizens United, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, American Promise, Common Cause, Free Speech For People and Union of Concerned Scientists.
The full text of the amendment is available at bit.ly/2YIn3Wm. A background summary is available at bit.ly/2YFfVtW, and a section-by-section with FAQs is available at bit.ly/2YC0qDb.