WASHINGTON--Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today introduced the Get Corporate Money out of Politics Amendment to the United States Constitution. The bill reaffirms the importance of a level playing field and authorizes Congress and the States to regulate election contributions of for-profit corporations.
Between the 2006 and 2010 elections, spending by independent groups, including corporations, quadrupled to more than $450 million. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision opened the door to unlimited independent corporate spending during elections. As a result, corporations have a stronger voice in picking our country’s leaders than ever before.
While protecting the freedom of the press, the Get Corporate Money Out of Politics Amendment clearly states that corporations are not people. They do not vote, they do not serve in office, and they should not be able to buy our elections.
“In a democracy, individuals have the inalienable right to choose their government,” said Rep. Ellison. “When corporations choose government, government works only for corporations. We have a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people—not corporations.”
The problem of corporate money in politics is only getting worse. Last week, Republicans brought a bill to the floor (H.R. 3463) that abolished the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF), the public financing system for presidential campaigns created in response to Watergate. The PECF is the primary mechanism giving small donors a role in the election process, with nearly 50 million Americans participating last election cycle. The bill also abolishes the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), an independent bipartisan commission charged with improving the conduct of elections and ensuring that every vote is counted. Congress created the EAC after the 2000 presidential election, in which as many as a million voters’ ballots were not counted.
You can find more information, including the text of the amendment here.