Lawmakers Ask Congress to Send a Constitutional Amendment to the Voters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2015
Juneau – Democratic legislators have filed resolutions in the Alaska House and Senate calling for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the controversial United States Supreme Court Citizens United ruling. The ruling allows corporations, unions and special interest groups to spend unlimited “independent expenditure” money on elections to support or defeat candidates.
“The Citizens United ruling gives multinational corporations a bigger voice in our elections than voters,” said Rep. Les Gara (D- Anchorage), prime sponsor of the Joint Resolution in the Alaska House.
“Unlimited campaign spending is corrosive to our democracy. Allowing a small group of billionaires, multinational corporations and other interest groups to sway elections undermines the very principal of one person, one vote we value here in America,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), prime sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 6.
The Citizens United ruling has sparked outrage since it was made in 2010. Thus far, sixteen states have passed similar resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment to ban this corrosive election spending.
“The impacts of the Citizens United ruling have been uniformly negative and a detriment to our democracy,” said Rep. Andy Josephson, (D-Anchorage), who is co-sponsoring this legislation with Rep. Harriot Drummond (D-Anchorage), Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks), and Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage).
In 2014, roughly two-thirds of the Citizens United election money was spent on negative ads, which have been proven to suppress and alienate voters. The 2014 Alaska Senate race was the most expensive in the nation on a per capita basis. In the past two non-presidential year elections, Citizens United spending has jumped roughly 70% from $303 million to $546 million.
“After the last election and a record number of TV and radio ads, mailings, and phone calls, I share the public sentiment that big money from outsiders should be taken out of our local elections,” said Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks).
To reverse Citizens United, two-thirds of the members of each House in Congress have to agree to send a proposed Constitutional Amendment to the states, and three-quarters of the states need to ratify the Amendment.