Republicans Join Democrats as Maine Legislature Votes to Overturn Citizens United and Get Big Money Out of Politics

AUGUSTA, ME – Noting that “the current legal landscape severely constrains the range of options available to citizens, frustrating efforts to reduce the influence of moneyed interest in elections and in government," a resolution to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was passed today by both the Maine State House and State Senate.

The final, bipartisan vote was 111-31 in the House, with 25 Republicans and 4 independents joining 82 Democrats, and 25-9 in the Senate, with 5 Republicans joining 1 independent and 19 Democrats. Senator Richard Woodbury (independent) sponsored the resolution that memorializes Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC. 

Maine now becomes the thirteenth state to call for such a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, following closely on the heels of passage of a similar resolution passed by West Virginia earlier this month. 

“The Citizens United and other Supreme Court rulings have elevated the role outside special interest money in our elections, while diminishing the voices of everyday people in Augusta and Washington,” said Andrew Bossie, executive director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. “For months Maine people have taken action by passing town resolutions, signing petitions, and contacting lawmakers calling for a constitutional amendment that ensures government accountability to voters, not campaign donors. With Maine’s leadership, we are one step closer to making this a reality.” 

"This terrific bi-partisan vote is a huge win, not only for Maine, but for all Americans," said Peter Schurman, campaign director at Free Speech For People.  "Republicans, independents, and Democrats alike are clamoring for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and bring back real democracy.  We're thrilled that Maine is now helping lead the way forward."

The language of the resolution can be found here: 

http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/SP054801.asp

Background

The movement to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy has been growing across the country at the state and local levels.  This past November, voters in both Montana and Colorado approved ballot measures by nearly three-to-one margins, and seven other states -- Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey -- acted through their legislatures, which passed resolutions calling for an amendment; in two more, Connecticut and Maryland, majorities of the legislatures signed letters to Congress calling for an amendment. 

Congressman Jim McGovern introduced two such amendment bills this year. HJ Res 20 would restore Congress’ and the states’ authority to regulate campaign spending, and HJ Res 21 or the "People's Rights Amendment" would overturn Citizens United and clarify that constitutional rights apply to living persons, not corporations.

A 2010 Peter Hart poll revealed that 68% of Republicans, 82% of independents, and 87% of Democrats support an amendment; a 2012 AP poll showed that 81% of Republicans, 78% of independents, and 85% of Democrats want to limit corporate, union, and other outside spending. 

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections is a nonpartisan organization that works in the public interest to advocate for, increase public support for, defend and improve the Maine Clean Election Act and related campaign finance law. For more on Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, visit: www.mainecleanelections.org

Free Speech For People works to challenge the misuse of corporate power and restore republican democracy to the people. The group advances the movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, an earlier case called Buckley v. Valeo, and the fabricated doctrine of corporate constitutional rights. For more on Free Speech For People, visit: www.FreeSpeechForPeople.org.

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To download the press release, click here