According to its mission statement, the ABA Task Force for American Democracy is charged with producing a report that will “provide an analysis of the root causes for today’s threats to our democracy and rule of law, and recommend actions to be taken to restore, protect, and preserve our democracy and the rule of law.” In fulfilling its charge, the Task Force will consider “ways to maximize voter confidence and participation in our democratic process,” including “potential changes in federal, state, and local practices, laws, and constitutions to meet these ends.”
In this Working Paper, American Promise invites the Task Force to consider and recommend an amendment to the United States Constitution that would address the fundamental structural factors that have been deeply undermining Americans’ confidence and participation in self-government.
The ABA Task Force should recommend an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that permits the States and Congress to reasonably regulate money in campaigns, elections, and ballot measures.
The idea to amend the Constitution to address the problem of money in American elections is not new. The concepts and constitutional principles are well-developed. Versions of such an amendment have been proposed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress since the post-Watergate reforms were struck down by the Supreme Court in Buckley. And just recently, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences endorsed such an amendment as a reform necessary to secure equality of voice and representation in the 21st century.