In the last decade, supercharged by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, American politics has been dramatically shaped by big-money campaign spending. Today citizens across the nation are standing up and demanding elected officials address this fundamental issue. These widespread demands spurred a hearing last week in the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. During the hearing, through written and oral testimony, citizens shared how policy outcomes no longer represent the wishes of average Americans, even when there is broad, cross-partisan consensus, but rather favor an increasingly small group of ultra-wealthy individuals, big corporations, unions, and shadowy special interest groups. American Promise President Jeff Clements, who submitted testimony and attended the hearing, shared why a growing number of Americans from across the political spectrum are fed up with the pay-to-play system and are calling for change. “In its 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and several additional decisions, the Court effectively decreed that the American people cannot legislate election funding limits regardless of the loss of equal rights to representation and free speech,” Clements writes in a recent op-ed in the Hill. Cross-partisan majorities now support amending the Constitution to enable Congress to set common-sense campaign finance limits, he says.“Across the nation, Americans from every walk of life—legal experts, business leaders, veterans, elected officials, health care professionals, young people, parents, grandparents, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—are united in asking Congress to fix the systemic damage done by Citizens United,” Clements writes. “The 28th Amendment to the Constitution is how we will achieve it.”Read the rest of Jeff’s op-ed here. Watch Azor deliver a statement in favor of the amendment during a news conference before the hearing.
At the news conference, American Promise State Manager Azor Cole highlighted how the political spending arms race has led to reduced public confidence in our democratic institutions and the rise of influential, superrich donors. And here’s a recording of the entire hearing.