Democrats consider constitutional amendment to combat Supreme Court decision on campaign finance

by Alex Pappas
The Daily Caller
2/3/2010

Democrats in Congress want to amend the U.S. Constitution to say free speech does not extend to corporations in response to the Supreme Court’s decision allowing freer corporate spending in political campaigns.

On Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers, Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Donna F. Edwards, Maryland Democrat, introduced an amendment to combat “the flawed ruling by the Supreme Court allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.”

The amendment will undo the Supreme Court decision and allow the government to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations for political speech, according to a release.

“It is time we remove corporate influence from our policies and our politics. We cannot allow corporations to dominate our elections, to do so would be both undemocratic and unfair to ordinary citizens,” Edwards said.

Conyers said the “idea that corporate political speech is no different than an individual citizen’s political speech was not the law when the Constitution was written.”

The proposed amendment, introduced in the House, says that the government “may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.” The proposal adds: “Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.’’

In the Senate, Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat, wrote on Twitter this weekend that he is also authoring an amendment. Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, jumped on the bandwagon Tuesday, offering his support for one during a committee hearing.

While Specter has been public about his intentions, he has been mum on the details. Specter spokeswoman Kate Kelly only said she expects the senator to further unveil his plans on the Senate floor in the future. She said she did not know when that would be or exactly what will be in the amendment.

This is all in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision, released on Jan. 21, that independent expenditures by corporations on political broadcasts cannot be limited, striking down part of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. Republicans praised the ruling as a victory for the First Amendment.

The article continues at The Daily Caller.

[CAJ note: And will this Constitutional Amendment also apply to the nation’s powerful unions and their PACs that donate to the Democratic Party, we wonder…? Or is this yet more Washington hypocrisy in action?]

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