by State House News Service

May 22, 2012

Boston Herald

Amherst, Boston and Cambridge are among 56 cities and towns across Massachusetts that are calling on Congress to pass an amendment overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which has opened up new opportunities for unlimited amounts of corporate and union funds to influence elections around the country.

The court, in a 5-4 ruling two years ago, ruled that restrictions on corporate expenditures in elections violate constitutionally protected free speech rights.

According to the Democracy Amendment Coalition of Massachusetts, they hit the 50-community milestone on May 14 when town meetings in four communities approved resolutions calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning the court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

Since those town meetings, Arlington, Boxborough, Otis and Worcester have also passed resolutions.

Similar resolutions have been approved by lawmakers in Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii and one (S 722) is pending before the Massachusetts Legislature.

John Bonifaz, a former candidate for secretary of state in Massachusetts, is leading a national campaign to overturn Citizens as director of Free Speech for People.

Pam Wilmot, director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said the building support reflects a “grassroots effort by citizens fed up with bid money in politics and an increasingly dysfunctional democracy.”

Other Massachusetts cities that are calling for an end to Citizens United include Lynn, Northampton and Salem and resolutions have also been approved in smaller communities like Brewster, Montague and Tisbury.

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