Massachusetts joins growing movement to safeguard elections
Earlier this month, an increasingly activist Supreme Court not only reaffirmed its 2010 Citizens United ruling allowing unlimited corporate funding to flow into federal elections. It imposed this undemocratic ruling on state and local elections as well, upending campaign finance laws in at least 21 states and the District of Columbia.
But today the Senate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts said enough is enough.
In a 35-1 vote the Senate passed a resolution calling on Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to “restore the first amendment and fair elections to the people.” It’s a call to, in effect, overturn this week’s ruling, as well as Citizens United, and address the Court’s interpretation that corporations are people and thus entitled to the same free speech rights.
With today’s vote, the Massachusetts Senate joins approximately 30 states, as well as nearly 250 cities and towns that have taken similar action. The vote is also a reflection of public opinion which, according to a series of polls, overwhelming opposes Citizens United. A majority of voters also oppose giving corporations the same rights as people.
Corporate Accountability International commends the Senate’s action and encourages the state’s House of Representatives to follow suit. Now is a critical moment for other states, municipalities, and individuals running for office to take up the cause. As the recall election in Wisconsin recently demonstrated, corporations and corporate executives intend to spare no expense in electing candidates that will to do their bidding.
The expense to our democracy, worker’s rights, public health, and environment is, and will be, an unacceptable one – one injurious of long-term economic prosperity and the freedoms to which we are guaranteed under the Constitution.
Partnering with the United for the People coalition, Corporate Accountability International is intent on growing the already impressive list of public officials and institutions endorsing action. For 35 years, the organization has advocated reforms that free our democracy from undue corporate influence. Now with billions of dollars pouring into federal elections (and soon into state and local elections) from corporations and their executives, the need for democratic checks and balances could not be greater.