Repeal Citizens United movement gaining momentum

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Maybe the Arizona legislature would like to jump on the bandwagon? Oh right, they do the bidding of the Goldwater Institute, a charter member of the "Kochtopus," and a big supporter of its dark money organizations and Citizens United v. FEC, and also gutting Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections. "Power to the Plutocrats!"

John Nichols at The Nation reports that Maine, a pioneer of publicly financed campaigns, has become the thirteenth state to pass a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. As Maine Goes… a Bipartisan Call to Overturn 'Citizens United':

When the Maine State House voted 111-33 this week to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,
the support for this bold gesture was notably bipartisan. Twenty-five
Republicans joined four independents and all eighty-two Democrats to
back the call.

Similarly, when the Maine State Senate voted 25-9
for the resolution, five Republicans joined with nineteen Democrats and
independent Senator Richard Woodbury to “call upon each Member of the
Maine Congressional Delegation to actively support and promote in
Congress an amendment to the United States Constitution on campaign finance.”

What happened in Maine this week was a big deal for several reasons:

1. Maine became the thirteenth state
to urge Congress to develop an amendment to address the
money-in-politics crisis that is unfolding as a result of Supreme Court
rulings that that have effectively struck down campaign-finance
regulations and ushered in a new era of unlimited spending by wealthy
individuals and corporate interests. Maine joins West Virginia,
Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California,
Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii in calling for an
amendment. Washington, DC, has also backed the drive
.

2. The swift action by both houses of the Maine legislature, coming
less than a month after West Virginia urged Congress to act, confirms the momentum
that is building for the movement, which has been backed by almost 500
communities nationwide. Though media coverage has been scant, it is rare
in recent history for a grassroots movement to amend the constitution
to have attracted so much official support at the municipal, county and
state levels nationwide
.

3. As in a number of other states, the significant level of
bipartisan support in Maine provides a reminder that this movement is
attracting support from across the partisan and ideological spectrum.

That final point merits particular attention.

* * *

Polling has consistently shown that Republicans support for restrictions
on corporate spending in elections very nearly parallels that of
Democrats. And, while there are too many national Democrats who buy into
big-money equations, there are Republicans who have begun to raise the
right objections—and point to the right answers. Notably, Congressman Walter Jones Jr., a very conservative Republican congressman from North Carolina, is a cosponsor—along with Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth—of a constitutional amendment proposal that would overturn key provisions of the Citizens United decision and establish that campaign contributions can be regulated by Congress and state legislatures.

[This bill joins several others already introduced in Congress, none of which have received a committee hearing.]

Bipartisan support for reform is more evident in the states. State
legislators are active at the grassroots, knocking on doors and meeting
constituents face to face. They recognize the deep frustration with a
political process that seems to have spun out of control, and they
reject the premise that corporations and wealthy individuals have a
constitutional right to buy elections.

* * *

[T]he group that organized support for reform in his state, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, wisely reached out to Democrats, Republicans, independents and third-party backers in pursuit of a “multi-partisan” coalition.

The approach has excited national groups such as Public Citizen’s Democracy Is for People Campaign, Move to Amend and Free Speech for People. Indeed, Free Speech for People’s Peter Schurman declared,
“This terrific bi-partisan vote is a huge win, not only for Maine, but
for all Americans. Republicans, independents, and Democrats alike are
clamoring for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and bring back real democracy
. We’re thrilled that Maine is now helping lead the way forward.”

With all of the posturing over election "reform" bills that are stalled in the Arizona legislature, one would think this resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United would be a no-brainer for easy passage. It's just a postcard to Congress.

It's not too late. As much as I despise the practice of the "strike everything amendment" in the Arizona legislature and would like to see it prohibited, it does present an opportunity for Arizona to jump on the bandwagon and to pass this resolution before the end of the current session. Do we have any legislators willing to step up to the plate and propose this resolution as a strike everything amendment?

Let's give those evil bastards at the Goldwater Institute the middle-finger salute it so richly deserves.

UPDATE: Don't get your hopes up. The Hill reports, RNC urges Supreme Court to strike campaign-finance limits:

The Republican National Committee urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday
to strike down [aggregate] limits on campaign contributions, saying they're a
violation of the First Amendment.

The RNC filed its opening brief in [ McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (docket 12-536)] challenging limits on the
total amount one person can donate in a single election cycle. The RNC
says the limits are unconstitutional.

If the court agrees, donors who now max out at around $120,000 per year could be able to donate more than $3 million per cycle.

The campaign-finance suit is already one of the highest-profile cases of the Supreme Court's next term, which begins in October.

The RNC is not challenging limits on how much an individual donor can
give to one campaign, but rather how much he or she can donate, in
total, over a two-year election cycle.

Individual donors cannot donate more than $74,600 to political
committees, such as the RNC, in a two-year period. Contributions to
individual candidates are capped at $48,600, meaning one donor could
only give the maximum donation to nine candidates per cycle.

The RNC said in its brief that the court should strike down aggregate
limits because they infringe on donors' First Amendment rights but don't
serve an appropriate and “narrowly tailored” government interest.

“The aggregate limits no longer serve any legitimate purpose. They
burden the First Amendment rights of individuals without constitutional
justification. They limit how much money candidates and political
parties may receive from individuals, while super-PACs and advocacy
groups may raise unlimited sums for their political purposes,” said
James Bopp, Jr., lead attorney for RNC.

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog.com has the details. GOP seeks more donor freedom.

Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed into law a bill addressing campaign contribution limits and aggreagate limits at the state level.

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