Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Senator Introduces Amendment to Overturn "Citizens United"

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    Workers use shovels and brooms to remove a heavy mixture of snow and ice from the west front of the U.S. Supreme Court March 6, 2013 in Washington, DC. A late winter storm is expected to cover the Mid-Atlantic region after dropping almost a foot of snow across the the West and Midwest. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    I wonder how Rep.-to-be Robin Kelly would vote on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision?

    In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court ruled that the government could not limit expenditures by corporations or unions. This led to the creation of Super PACs which can spend unlimited amounts of money to support candidates as long as they don’t donate to the candidates themselves. Independence USA, a Super PAC founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a funnel for his fortune, spend over $2 million on ads supporting Kelly. That was more than all 17 candidates in the Democratic primary spent on their own campaigns. Needless to say, Kelly won with 52 percent of the vote. 
    Here’s the text of the amendment introduced today by Sanders, an Independent from Vermont:
    SECTION 1.
    Whereas the right to vote in public elections belongs only to natural persons as citizens of the United States, so shall the ability to make contributions and expenditures to influence the outcome of public elections belong only to natural persons in accordance with this Article.
    SECTION 2.
    Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to restrict the power of Congress and the States to protect the integrity and fairness of the electoral process, limit the corrupting influence of private wealth in public elections, and guarantee the dependence of elected officials on the people alone by taking actions which may include the establishment of systems of public financing for elections, the imposition of requirements to ensure the disclosure of contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of a public election by candidates, individuals, and associations of individuals, and the imposition of content neutral limitations on all such contribution and expenditures.
    SECTION 3.
    Nothing in this Article shall be construed to alter the freedom of the press. 
    SECTION 4.
    Congress and the States shall have the power to enforce this Article through appropriate legislation.