AG Martha Coakley Supports Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United, corporate “rights”

Attorney General Martha Coakley today became the first sitting Attorney General in the nation to call for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and the Supreme Court’s fabrication of corporate Constitutional rights to unlimited corporate election spending. Here’s her press release from her office, with a link to her letter to Massachusetts legislative leaders considering a resolution calling for the 28th Amendment.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            MEDIA CONTACT:

December 8, 2011                                                                  Melissa Karpinsky/Emalie Gainey                                                                                                           

(617) 727-2543

AG COAKLEY SUPPORTS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO LIMIT UNLIMITED, UNDISCLOSED CORPORATE SPENDING IN ELECTIONS

In Letter to State Judiciary Chairs, Urges Passage Of Resolution Supporting Federal Constitutional Amendment To Reverse Citizens United Decision

BOSTON – Stating that individual voters are being increasingly disenfranchised by the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of undisclosed contributions by corporations, Attorney General Martha Coakley today voiced her support for a federal constitutional amendment to make clear that corporate spending is not free speech.

AG Coakley expressed her support in a letter to the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Senator Cynthia Creem and Representative Eugene O’Flaherty. In the letter, she supports passage of Senate Bill 772, “Restoring Free Speech,” which is a resolution that calls for a federal Constitutional Amendment to reverse the United States Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The federal amendment has been proposed with bipartisan support by Congressman James P. McGovern. The state Resolution was introduced by Senator James Eldridge and Representative Cory Atkins.

“As we have seen, average citizens are feeling increasingly disenfranchised and believe that our current political system favors the wealthy few instead of the public good,” AG Coakley said in her letter. “Individual people’s voices will continue to be steadily drowned out if corporations are allowed to spend billions in unreported and unaccounted funds to influence elections. The passage of the Resolution would send a strong message that it is time to put the electoral process back in the hands of the people, not corporations.”

In January 2010, the United States Supreme court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on corporate political campaign advertisements violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections, thereby allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.

That decision has resulted in a torrent of undisclosed corporate and special interest money into the electoral process through 501(c) non-profit organizations which are not required to disclose their donors. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the amount of money spent by non-party committees during the 2010 Congressional elections was more than $300 million, more than four times the amount spent during the 2006 Congressional elections.  The 2012 election will be the first presidential race since the Citizens United ruling.

A copy of the Attorney General’s letter can be found here.

###

About Jeff Clements

Jeff Clements is co-founder and chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, challenge excessive corporate power, and strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He co-founded Free Speech For People in 2010, after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case. Jeff has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 staff in the enforcement of environmental, healthcare, financial services, civil rights, antitrust and consumer protection laws. In private practice, Jeff has been a partner at Mintz Levin in Boston, and in his own firm. Jeff also has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards, including that of the Portland Water District, a public agency responsible for protecting and delivering safe drinking water and ensuring proper treatment of wastewater for 160,000 people; Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental organization he co-founded with others to protect and enhance stewardship of Maine’s Casco Bay; and The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2012, Jeff co-founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides cost-effective capital to farmers and businesses engaged in local, sustainable agriculture. Jeff graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College in 1984, and magna cum laude from the Cornell Law School in 1988. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife and three children. Jeff Clements Twitter: @ClementsJeff Email: jclements@freespeechforpeople.org
This entry was posted in Action in the States. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments Closed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s