FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2012
Legislation to Ban Unlimited Corporate and Union Election Spending Passes Committee
Today legislation calling for an end to unlimited corporate and union election spending passed the House State Affairs Committee.
“Unlimited spending by corporations and organizations to influence elections drowns out the public’s voice, and damages the basic democratic priniciple of one person one vote,” said Prime Sponsor of HJR 33, Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). The legislation calls on the United States Congress to pass a constitutional amendment reversing the controversial 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which reversed decades of precedent allowing states and Congress to ban corporate and Union “independent expenditures” by third party groups seeking to influence election outcomes.
“Third party ads tend to be negative, tend to be deceptive, and tend to corrupt a political process that requires more honesty, not more deception,” said Gara.
Many Americans recognize that the ability of large contributions from corporations, wealthy individuals and organizations to political candidates harms the ability of average citizens to have a voice in their own government. Prior to the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling of Citizens United vs. Federal Election, unlimited independent expenditures from corporations and unions was prohibited. Comparing two non-election years, independent expendutires increased from roughly $68 million to over $300 million between 2006, and 2010, when the Citizens United ruling was issued. “Corporate money is having an influence on elections, and it is not a good one. Citizens vote for better government; corportations spend on those candidates who will send them the greatest profits,” said Gara.
Unless the Supreme Court reverses its ruling, the only way to reverse the harmful effects of the Citizens United ruling is to amend the Constitution of the United States.
House Joint Resolution 33 passed the Hosue State Affairs Committee today on a 4-3 vote, with Reps. Lynn, Gruenberg, Seaton and Petersen voting “yes”. Representatives Les Gara, Berta Gardner, Lindsey Holmes, Beth Kerttula, Chris Tuck, Scott Kawasaki, Bob Miller, and Pete Petersen are the bill’s prime sponsors.