Letter to the House on Citizens United
April 11, 2013
On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we would like to urge your support for House Joint Resolution 25 (H.J. Res. 25), proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to clarify the authority of Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds for political activity by corporations.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C., corporate money has flooded into the American political system, drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans. In the 2012 election alone, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to influence our elections by “Super PACs” and 501(c)4 entities who, after Citizens United, can take corporate money in unlimited amounts. Moreover, this decision left Congress and the states helpless to prevent this distortion of our democracy. The proposed amendment would give Congress back the power it needs to prevent such distortions.
Written into our Constitution are a set of enduring American values, so amending the Constitution is a task we should not take lightly. This proposed amendment does not disrupt these founding principles; rather, it returns to them.
The power to speak freely is a hollow freedom for the millions of Americans whose voice cannot be heard over the booming echo of corporate speech. The proposed amendment would allow Congress to turn down the volume on corporate speech so that individual citizens could once again be heard as our founders intended. Further, the amendment provides a guard against Congressional overreach by declaring that while the press in modern times may be incorporated, it nonetheless remains immune from Congressional censorship.
At the 2010 NEA Representative Assembly, delegates from across the country voted to support just such an amendment “to enable Congress and the states to regulate the expenditure of funds for political contributions and election-related campaign speech by corporations.” We hope that you will join them and support this vital legislation.
Director, Government Relations