Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a Constitutional Amendment for Campaign Finance Reform
June 02, 2014
On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association, and the students they serve, we commend both the Judiciary Committee for holding Tuesday’s hearing, “Examining a Constitutional Amendment to Restore Democracy to the American People,” and Majority Leader Reid for his testimony. Educators see campaign finance reform through a constitutional amendment, such as S. J. Res. 19 introduced by Senator Udall (D-NM), as a key way to protect democracy and the voice of the American people.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C. in 2010, 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.
With McCutcheon v. FEC, the decision issued earlier this year, eliminating the cap on the total amount an individual can contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees the scales have been tipped in favor of big money donors. This decision, along with Citizens United, could effectively deny regular people an equal say in determining the future of our country. S. J. Res. 19 would overturn these bad court decisions by granting Congress the express authority to regulate and limit the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns and allow states to regulate campaign spending at their level.
The power to speak freely is a hollow freedom for the millions of Americans whose voice cannot be heard over the booming echo of money as speech. Overturning Citizens United and McCutcheon through a Constitutional amendment would allow Congress to turn down the volume on corporate speech and big money donors so that individual citizens could once again be heard as our founders intended.
We welcome the opportunity to work with members of the Committee and the Senate on this issue.
Director, Government Relations