BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday passed a bipartisan resolution calling for the United States Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, restoring the first amendment and ending unlimited outside spending in elections.
“This resolution expresses what we all know: corporations aren’t people,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, (D-Boston). “As has been said throughout history, corporations don’t have a body to incarcerate or a soul to be damned. And neither do they have a heart to feel patriotism when they hear the Star Spangled Banner. Giving corporations the right of free speech and allowing them unlimited election spending hurts our political process and ultimately damages our democracy. I’m hopeful that everyday citizens across the country can come together around this kind of legislation, and that we can begin the process of putting political campaigns back in the hands of the people. ”
Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), lead sponsor of the resolution, said, “In two short years, the Citizens United decision has upended our election system, and the voices of ordinary Americans risk being drowned out by the tens of millions of dollars that are being poured into attack ads paid for by corporate donors. The problem is real, resulting in a strong grassroots effort across the Commonwealth coming together to support the only effective, long-term solution: passing a constitutional amendment that will overturn this misguided, destructive decision. I'm proud of the Senate, under the leadership of Senate President Murray, for passing this resolution today and sending a strong message that our democracy isn't for sale.”
“We as delighted that the Senate has taken bipartisan action to address this disastrous decision,” said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “A campaign for a Constitutional Amendment is no easy task, but the US Supreme Court left us no choice. Only with a constitutional amendment can we address the problem of money in politics that it, and other decisions, has created. Passing this resolution has put Massachusetts on the forefront of that critical effort, which, as the cradle of liberty, is where we should be.”
A poll of Massachusetts voters conducted in February by 7 News and Suffolk University revealed that 83 percent of Democrats polled, 73 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of independents oppose the Supreme Court’s decision.
During the 2010 elections, the first since the Supreme Court’s decision, non-candidate spending reached nearly $400 million, nearly 60 percent higher than spending during the 2006 midterm elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.