Today on the steps of Ashburton Place in Boston, a host of public interest organizations gathered for the release of a new report documenting the dominance of big money in the November 2014 Congressional elections. Authored by MASSPIRG and Demos, the report calls for solutions moving big money dominance to small donors.

>> Download “The Money Chase” reportThe Money Chase Report – Demos & MASSPIRG

Our Legal Director Ron Fein spoke at the release, addressing the need for a constitutional amendment. Below are his remarks.

 (Thanks. I’m Ron Fein, the Legal Director at Free Speech For People.) 

Free Speech For People was formed on the day of the Citizens United decision, and since then we’ve been fighting for an amendment to reverse that decision. We need to move immediately to pass improved disclosure laws, and common-sense public funding initiatives. But we also need to recognize that the Supreme Court’s constitutional decisions have left  gaping holes in our options as a democracy.
Time after time, the Court has struck down local, state, and federal reforms that would move us toward the ideal of an equal voice for every voter. When Vermont passed a comprehensive reform bill, with both contribution and spending limits, the Court struck down both.[i] When Arizona, Maine, and other states passed “clean elections” laws, the Court struck down key provisions designed to prevent millionaires from drowning out publicly financed candidates.[ii] When Congress set a limit on how much any one person could contribute to federal politicians, the Court struck that down too.[iii]
That’s why we need a constitutional amendment: to restore our ability to put sensible limits on the amount of money that can be raised or spent in elections. The people can’t keep up with the 1% in an insane financial arms race for our democracy. The amendment will give breathing space for the people of cities, states, and the nation to debate and pass common-sense reforms.
Across America, support for this amendment is broad and bi-partisan. Seventy-nine percent of Americans support limits on campaign fundraising and spending.[iv] In just five years, one-third of the states, including Massachusetts, and over 500 cities and towns have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Since the Civil War, every generation of Americans has amended the Constitution to expand our democracy and break down barriers to equality. This is our generation’s challenge.
Thank you.

[i] Randall v. Sorrell, 548 U.S. 230 (2006).
[ii] Arizona Free Enter. Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 131 S. Ct. 2806 (2011).
[iii] McCutcheon v. FEC, 134 S. Ct. 1434 (2014).