REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA
CONTACT: Toby SmithLegislative Aide
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2012
Alaskans Call for End to Unlimited Corporate and Union Election Spending: Petition Gets 1,000th Signer in First Week
In just one week, over 1,000 Alaskans have signed a public petition supporting Rep. Gara’s legislation calling for an end to unlimited corporate campaign spending. Such quick action by a frustrated public shows the public significantly supports a ban on unlimited elections spending by corporations, made legal by the Citizens United Supreme Court case.
“The public is fed up with letting corporations, unions and others buy elections, and drown out the voices of voters who aren’t billionaires,” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anc.), the lead Prime Sponsor of a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision. A Homer Tribune Article published yesterday fairly summarizes the legislative debate on this issue.
“Unlimited spending by corporations and organizations to influence elections drowns out the public’s voice, and damages the basic democratic principle of one person one vote,” said 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.
Likewise polling reflects that roughly 8 out of 10 Americans oppose the Citizens United ruling, and similar resolutions are pending in states and cities across the country. See Washington Post article from February 17, 2010.
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 House State Affairs Committee last week 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. The resolution has been referred to the House Judicial Committee and is waiting to be scheduled.
A copy of the petition is available from Rep. Gara’s Office.