Maine Overwhelmingly Passes Cross-Partisan Resolution For Constitutional Amendment On Citizens United v. FEC

nunst030Maine has become the 13th State to enact a  resolution demanding the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution that will overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous misinterpretation in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. In that 5-4 decision, the majority held that unions and corporations – – even the largest, multi-billion dollar global corporations – – have a Constitutional right to spend unlimited money in American elections, no matter what American voters think about that. In Citizens United the Court also affirmed again its idiosyncratic dictate that unlimited election spending of billions of dollars by individuals, labor unions, or corporations does not have any corrupting or corrosive effect on republican democracy in America.

Maine joins the 500 cities and towns and a dozen states in passing a 28th Amendment resolution. Other states include Montana and Colorado (where in the November elections, 75% of the voters passed a ballot initiative calling for the 28th Amendment), West Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Mexico. Several versions of the proposed Constitutional amendment are before Congress (with more than 100 co-sponsors in total). Free Speech For People has all the amendment resolutions bills here, and breaks down the different amendment approaches from the last Congress in 2012 here.

The Constitutional amendment resolution in the Maine Legislature passed overwhelmingly, with lopsided votes bringing Republicans, Democrats and Independents together.  John Nichols, writing in the Nation, explains: 

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.”

Peter Schurman, Campaign Director at Free Speech For People, helped with the Maine effort and said:

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.

Andrew Bossie, of Maine Citizens For Clean Elections, one of the leaders of this cross-partisan effort in Maine, said:

For months Maine people have taken action by passing town resolutions, signing petitions, and contacting lawmakers calling for a constitutional amendment that ensures government accountability to voters, not campaign donors. With Maine’s leadership, we are one step closer to making this a reality.

The statement from Maine Citizens For Clean Elections and Free Speech For People, from which these quotes are taken, is 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
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