February 7, 2013 (Washington D.C.)--Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) joined Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and more than two dozen of her colleagues in introducing a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns.
“We need to restore accountability in our political process,” said Rep. Davis. “We are supposed to have a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The integrity of our democracy is at stake when corporations can drown out the voices of the people in our elections.”
The Supreme Court essentially ruled that corporations are people, finding that Congress cannot limit corporate spending on campaigns. As a result, the Citizens United case opened the floodgates to unrestricted special interest campaign spending in American elections—permitting corporations to spend unlimited funds, directly or through third parties and political action committees organized for those purposes, to influence federal elections and opened the door for the emergence of super PACs.
According to opensecrets.org, more than $1.2 billion was spent in the 2012 election cycle by outside sources.
The proposed constitutional amendment stipulates that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit Congress and the states from imposing regulations and restrictions on the spending for political activity by any corporation or other corporate entity.
In Congress, Davis has been a leader in election and campaign finance reform. In the 111th Congress, the House passed two of Davis’s bills – The Federal Election Integrity Act and the Absentee Ballot Track, Receive, and Confirm Act, which helps states establish a system to allow voters to track their absentee ballot.
Davis’s hallmark election bill, the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act, has passed the House Administration Committee twice. She wants to shine a light on corporate contributions with her support of the DISCLOSE Act.
Passage of a constitutional amendment is an arduous process that requires not only passage by Congress, but also ratification by three-fourths of the states.