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California Becomes 6th State To Call For End To Citizens United

California Becomes 6th State To Call For End To Citizens United

California has become the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and put a stop to the never-ending flood of corporate money in our elections.

The California Senate voted 24-11 to pass the resolution and with the passage of Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 22, the California Legislature joins Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island and Maryland in calling for a constitutional amendment to undue Citizens United. The final vote in the California Senate came just shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Montana’s restrictions on corporate spending in its elections, signaling that it is not going to reconsider its Citizens United ruling anytime soon.

“California, the nation’s largest state, has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and return fair elections and constitutional rights to the people,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. “The voices of the 99% are growing stronger in demanding a government that is truly by and for the people. Together we will create a more democratic and more just nation.”

Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski and Michael Allen introduced the resolution and pushed it through the legislative process. Those lawmakers worked with activists to keep pressure on the Legislature. Public Citizen was joined by Common Cause, California PIRG, CREDO Mobile, California Church IMPACT, Free Speech for People, California Labor Federation, California League of Conservation Voters and many other organizations in advancing the resolution.

“[The] vote sends a clear message that California rejects this misguided ruling made by the conservative activists on the Supreme Court,” Wieckowski said. “The Legislature’s action and the 50,000 Californians who quickly signed petitions in support of AJR 22, show that it is time to restore sanity to our campaign finance laws. If Congress doesn’t act, our electoral process will be more dominated by wealthy interests and their concerns will drown out the voice of common Americans. This resolution is designed to send a grassroots message to Washington about the urgent need to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling and restore fair elections to the people.”

Added California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg: “I’m proud that the California State Senate passed AJR 22, memorializing our disagreement with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and calling upon the U.S. Congress to act to overturn the decision. Since the decision, large corporations and the wealthy have dominated campaign spending. We must tip the scales back to a balance that once again gives a strong voice to the people.”

Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Super PACs and other independent groups – many which can hide the identities of their donors – have spent huge amounts, in some cases outspending individual campaigns by a ratio of 2-to-1. Citizens United-enabled outside group spending is devoted overwhelmingly to negative attack ads. And the funds come from a very small cluster of people; just 22 individuals and corporations accounted for half the monies raised by Super PACs through the end of 2011.

In California’s 2010 U.S. Senate race between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina, Super PACs and other outside interests spent more than $10 million to influence the election. They also spent $5.4 million on U.S. House of Representatives races in the state.

“Unless we aim to turn over control of our elections to Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Sheldon Adelson and a very few others, we need a constitutional amendment to reset our campaign finance system and to re-establish the principle that democracy means rule by the people, not giant corporations,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

The constitutional amendment process is slow but necessary if we are to truly retake our democracy from the flood of special interest money. California is an important addition to this fight.

So, what stat is next?

Related Stories:

SCOTUS Kills Citizens United Challenge

Vermont Passes Resolution To Ban Citizens United

A Congressional Summit To Overturn Citizens United

Read more: , , , ,

Photo from Donkey Hotey via flickr.

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33 comments

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12:20AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

--- Darn got clipped again :) ---

US CONSTITUTION
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Article V - Amendment

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
-------------------------------------------------

Good bloody luck with that one folks.

12:18AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

We can give political resolutions about the same merit as new years resolutions to loose weight and to give up smoking.

In the reading here of the citizens united vs. the fec.gov the decision seemed to actually center around the vagueness in the election committee's definitions when trying to regulate these non-profits. There seemed to be the gist that it was not clear what the difference was in definition between one non-profit group and another.

The FEC could go back to the drawing board and try and craft some better rule making.

Once one actually figures out what the amendment would be , here is the process it would have to survive

US CONSTITUTION
-------------------------------------------------
Article V - Amendment

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that

10:24PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

WE the people need to vote Democratic in November and show the rich right wing Repubs that we don't accept their brand of "government".

9:06PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

GOP the party of LIES !!

8:28PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

“[The] vote sends a clear message that California rejects this misguided ruling made by the conservative activists on the Supreme Court,” Wieckowski said. “The Legislature’s action and the 50,000 Californians who quickly signed petitions in support of AJR 22, show that it is time to restore sanity to our campaign finance laws. If Congress doesn’t act, our electoral process will be more dominated by wealthy interests and their concerns will drown out the voice of common Americans. This resolution is designed to send a grassroots message to Washington about the urgent need to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling and restore fair elections to the people.”

The constitution says "We the people . . ." and Lincoln's Gettysburg address says "... government of the people, by the people and for the people . . .". In neither of those two documents does it specify only wealthy people or corporations! It is time to return to the intentions of the founding fathers. It is past time to overturn Citizens United.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, the problem IS the Congress --- the Republican/Teabagger dominated Congress is the political whore to the wealthy and corporations, as are the 5 conservative activist Injustices of SCOTUS.

Vote Democratic 2012!!!!! Vote Obama/Biden 2012!!!!!





7:46PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Great idea Shawn A, another green star to you.

7:44PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

On this note, proud to be a native Californian

4:39PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

3:48PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Shawn,

you are exactly right.
it is all so obvious ... who would think that is not what we need? Only those who have the reason not to. Those who have the money and thus the control. Unfortunately, it could be too late ...

2:40PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Hurray!

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