Since 1976, the Supreme Court has been stripping Congress and the states of the right to regulate election spending. Notably, in the landmark 2010 case Citizens United v. FEC, Chief Justice John Roberts and other justices ruled that corporations and unions have the inherent right to spend money in our elections. Citizens United and related cases led to the rise of super PACs, limitless election spending, and “dark money” groups that are not required to disclose their donors and that run advertisements using names that are not indicative of the interests they represent.
The Citizens United decision has mocked free speech. Permitting giant corporations and powerful special interests to spend so much on elections to drown out the voices of individual Americans is a perversion of First Amendment values. We need to restore balance and protect free speech and democracy.
HJM 4001 is a resolution currently in the Washington state Legislature that calls upon Congress to send a constitutional amendment to the states for ratification that would grant Congress and the states the authority to regulate election spending, so that billionaires, corporations, and special interests can’t buy our democracy. Constitutional amendments are warranted in only the most extreme circumstances, but this is one of them.