Connecticut Moves Forward with Challenges to Super PACs and Foreign-Influenced Corporate Political Spending

UPDATE: Read our June 5, 2017 supplemental testimony here to the Connecticut State Senate in support of this bill.

The movement to push back against Citizens United took another step forward today. As we’ve written elsewhere, two particular threats to democracy can be tackled even while Citizens United stands and no matter who is confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice. Those are:

  1. Super PACs, which were created not by the Supreme Court but by lower court decisions that are vulnerable to being overturned; and
  2. Political spending by foreign-influenced corporations, an area where the Supreme Court’s own precedent has upheld a law banning political spending by foreign interests yet for which federal efforts have stalled.

As we’ve seen in St. Petersburg, Florida, local action can help point the way forward on both issues.

Today, Connecticut State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. and Free Speech For People’s President John Bonifaz testified before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee in support of Senator Kennedy’s bill, S.B. 582, which would end super PACs and limit foreign corporate money in Connecticut state elections. They engaged in a vibrant discussion with Members of the Committee about the bill and urged that the Committee pass this bill as a major step in protecting the integrity of elections in Connecticut and in ensuring that our democracy works for all Americans, regardless of economic status.

Professor John Coates of Harvard Law School and Professor Albert Alschuler of the University of Chicago Law School submitted written testimony in support of the bill.

  • Read testimony from Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. (D-CT) [Download PDF]
  • Read testimony from Professor Albert W. Alschuler, Julius Kreeger Professor Emeritus, the University of Chicago Law School [Download PDF]
  • Read testimony from Professor John C. Coates, Professor of Law and Economics at Harvard Law School [Download PDF]
  • Read testimony from John C. Bonifaz, Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People [Download PDF]

We look forward to continued deliberations on this bill in the Connecticut Legislature and expect that many Connecticut voters will seek to have their voices heard on this critical matter.

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