After Divisive Election, a Key Takeaway: Majority of Americans Agree It’s Time to Limit Money in Politics

In a contentious 2020 election season that drew a record $14 billion in spending, a key issue for Americans on both sides of the political aisle is the battle between record voting numbers and the overwhelming influence of money in politics. A majority of Americans remain united on the need to limit the influence of big money in politics and place power in the hands of citizens rather than wealthy special interests. 

Examples of this across the country include:

  • In Wisconsin, unchecked Super PAC spending is on the rise with over $9.7 million spent in 2019-2020 alone. And in 2020, just three people — Silicon Valley-based Karla Jurvetson, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, and Wisconsin billionaire Diane Hendricks — each donated more than $2 million to political parties in Wisconsin.
  • In the Virginia Senate race, Democratic winner Mark Warners’ biggest campaign contributor was New York-based corporate law firm Wachtell, Lipton with a $100,401 contribution. Republican Challenger Daniel Gade’s largest contributor was Massachusetts-based defense contractor Raytheon Technologies with a $12,343 contribution. Virginia is one of six states that allow unlimited contributions to candidates by individuals, a state party, a political action committee, a corporation, or a union.
  • In Alaska, estimated spending on the 2020 Senate race topped $48 million in October, with Republican Dan Sullivan receiving only 23% from in-state contributions and Independent Al Gross receiving 30% from in-state contributions.

The 2020 overall $14 billion campaign price tag is a record — nearly doubling the amount spent in 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — and reflects an increasing number of people and organizations donating to races outside their home state and growing spending by Super PACs and other national groups with big coffers. While the presidential race alone represented an estimated $6.6 billion of total election spending, the battle for control of Congress drew big-dollar donors to numerous state races.

American Promise has a solution: the 28th Amendment to establish reasonable limits on money in politics and secure equal rights, effective representation, and more functional government for generations to come.

The citizens powering American Promise and advancing the 28th Amendment believe that money in politics is the foundational, structural issue that overshadows reform in all other realms of American public policy and governing. Laws are not enough: Because the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people and money is speech, laws that seek to establish spending limits in our elections are subject to legal challenges. An amendment offers permanent structural reform.

The 28th Amendment is supported by the vast majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle and will: 

  • Empower American voters to end the escalating influence of big money that dominates our elections.
  • Offer lasting reform not dependent on who is elected to office.
  • Enable Americans to enact reasonable limits on campaign contributions and dark money political spending, reversing the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

Learn more about the people-powered movement for the 28th Amendment in the recent report, Keep the Promise: America 250.

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