20 January 2012
We deserve a country where our elected officials are not bought and paid for by big corporations. But the Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision, issued two years ago this week, overturned over a century of precedent and opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of corporate money to flow into our political system.
Shockingly, the court came to this decision based on the notion that a corporation is legally a "person" entitled to First Amendment rights, and by equating a corporation's right to spend unlimited amounts of money influencing an election with the our right to free speech.
Even before the Citizens United decision, we too often saw the interests of Main Street subverted in favor of the interests of Wall Street.
But with the Citizens United decision now the law of the land, large corporations have the power to spend unlimited amounts of money from their general treasuries to buy elections.
To put things in perspective, the roughly $745 million Barack Obama raised to run for President in the 2008 election cycle (which was the most money raised by any candidate ever to run for office in the U.S.) is dwarfed by the $45 billion in profits a single company (ExxonMobil) made in 2008.
What's more, Citizen United opened loopholes that allow corporations to hide their campaign expenditures by laundering the money through non-profit advocacy organizations.
Unfortunately, because Congress cannot pass a law that supersedes a Supreme Court ruling, it may take a constitutional amendment to undo the worst aspects of the Citizens United decision and end corporate personhood.
Clearly, the bar to successfully amending the Constitution is very high. But with 85% of the public opposed to the Citizens United decision, there is a potential for a broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who all want to restore our democracy.
And let's remember, the stakes are too high to allow inaction on this issue. It's no exaggeration to say that the Citizens United decision fundamentally threatens the integrity of our democracy.
We need a government of, for and by the people. And sadly, we might need to work really hard to re-establish the common sense and democratic view that only people are people, not corporations.
Your senators and member of Congress need to hear from you, regardless of where they stand on this issue. We need to show them that their constituents are part of a broad movement demanding action — not only to convince them that overturning Citizens United is the right thing to do, but also that it's possible.
Today, take a step to be part of that movement.
Click the link below to automatically sign our petition telling your senators and member of Congress to support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood:
Thank you for standing up for democracy.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
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