With the Citizens United case last year, corporations were released from most campaign finance limits. Nominal restrictions remain, but in practice, financial expenditures on congressional campaigns are now out of control. Unlimited amounts can be spent to support or oppose congressional candidates, and there is no required disclosure of the true sources of funding for these efforts.
U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur has proposed a constitutional amendment that would establish clear congressional authority to regulate campaign finance, which would allow unlimited independent expenditures to be reined in once more. The amendment would read as follows:
‘Section 1. Congress shall have power to set limits on the amount of contributions that may be accepted by, and the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office.
`Section 2. A State shall have power to set limits on the amount of contributions that may be accepted by, and the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate for nomination for election to, or for election to, State or local office.
`Section 3. Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.’.
At the same time, a grassroots organization, Move to Amend, is coming together with a series of events in support of an amendment of the Constitution to undo the impact of the Citizens United decision. That group has rallied around the following principles:
* Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
* Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our vote and participation count.
* Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.
Can the Move to Amend organization align itself with Marcy Kaptur, in support of her proposed constitutional amendment? A possible glitch in the marriage of these two efforts comes in the third plank of Move to Amend’s platform. That plank takes on a libertarian tone, with a resentment of the federal government. This anti-government message may be something that Democrats and other liberals are reluctant to associate with.