January 31, 2013

Edwards, McGovern, Deutch, Perlmutter, and Kaptur urge President Obama to use State of the Union to Call for Constitutional Amendment to Address Citizens United

Washington, DC – Representatives Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), James McGovern (MA-2), Ted Deutch (FL-21), Ed Perlmutter (CO-7), and Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) sent a letter to President Obama urging him to call for a constitutional amendment to address the Citizens United ruling during his State of the Union address. The Representatives are part of the House Democratic Caucus’s Task Force on Election Reform, and have all led in the effort to regulate political spending and the influence of money in the political process.

“It is imperative that Congress consider constitutional remedies to once-and-for-all close the door to unlimited corporate and individual spending in our elections,” said Rep. Edwards. “President Obama and a majority of the American people recognize the corrosive impact unregulated spending is having on our democracy. We ask that the President use the unique opportunity of the State of the Union to make the case for a constitutional amendment. The voices of the American people cannot afford to be drowned out by unlimited special interest money in another election cycle.”

“The simple fact is this: there is way too much special-interest money in our political system right now,” Rep. McGovern said. “The Supreme Court’s dreadful decision in Citizens United compels us to act. There are a variety of thoughtful approaches to addressing this problem. At the very least, we need to have a serious debate. And the President has a wonderful opportunity in his State of the Union to jumpstart that discussion.”

“All of the admirable goals President Obama outlined in his inaugural address, from fighting global climate change to protecting Social Security and Medicare, are threatened by the limitless influence of big money in politics,” said Rep. Deutch. “At the same time the President is preparing his State of the Union address, special interests are preparing to unleash new lobbying efforts in Congress that thanks to Citizens United are now backed by the threat of multimillion corporate attack campaigns. With the 2012 election behind us it is important for President Obama to reassert his support for amending the Constitution and restoring integrity to our system of self-government.”

Rep. Perlmutter stated, “The Citizens United decision is widely credited with the prolific rise in Super PACs and unprecedented money spent by corporations and outside interest groups to influence the 2012 elections. In Colorado alone, unknown special interest groups and donors spent more than $80 million solely on television advertising in the Presidential race in 2012. Amending the Constitution is one of several options to help restore transparency, accountability and fairness to our American elections.”

Rep. Kaptur stated, “Campaign fundraising and spending is out of control, and it’s drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans. If campaign spending is a funnel, then Ohio is at the receiving end this election cycle, awash in nasty campaign ads from every imaginable source.”

“The time is now for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and give our government back to its rightful owners–the people of the United States.”

The full text of the letter is viewable here.

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