Surprise: Billion Dollar Corporate Front Lobby Group Supports Citizens United, Opposes Reform

A Constitutional Amendment to reverse Citizens United and restore the freedom and right of the people to stop the destruction of American democracy by unlimited money of global corporations and the very few continued to make progress this week. In Washington, with fifty-five Senate co-sponsors, the Democracy For All Amendment cleared a filibuster by 79-18, and now faces debate in the Senate.

The US Chamber of Commerce now is trotting out the false assertion that the Democracy For All Amendment somehow threatens speech rights or “amends the First Amendment.” No, the 5-4 Citizens United decision did that, amounting to, in Justice John Paul Stevens’s words, a “radical departure from First Amendment jurisprudence.”

The Democracy For All Amendment simply restores the power that Americans have always had until now — we may insist that our representatives in Congress and the States enact reasonable, content-neutral spending and contribution rules in elections to prevent systemic corruption, ensure fair, free elections and accountable representatives, and to protect American principles of equal citizenship and representation (one person, one vote).

I described more about the US Chamber role in creating the disastrous condition of our political system today in a recent op-ed 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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