The Supreme Court may treat corporations like people who can spend whatever they want on elections, but the American people don’t have to accept it, said Democratic senators who proposed a constitutional amendment Tuesday to retake control of campaign spending.
The amendment, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), doesn’t directly address the justices’ legal finding that corporations have a right to free speech that was curtailed by election law. Instead, it would add to the Constitution language that says Congress and the states can regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.
The amendment would effectively reverse two landmark Supreme Court decisions — the 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, which said spending money in elections is a form of speech, and the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled it unconstitutional to regulate the money spent to influence elections by corporations and unions.
The Citizens United ruling has unleashed a flood of cash from corporations and super PACs, which can spend as much as they want and do so nearly in secret.
“Letting this go unchecked is a threat to our democracy. Campaigns should be about the best ideas, not the biggest checkbooks,” Udall said at the press conference.