Our Position on Existing Amendments
In its Citizens United decision of 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court held that corporations had the same rights to free speech as human beings and that independent expenditures did not corrupt politicians. When combined with previous rulings (starting with Buckley v Valeo) holding that spending money for campaigns is essentially equivalent to free speech Congress cannot regulate campaign spending in any fundamental manner. This ruling opened the door to unlimited spending in elections and effectively neutered Congress's ability to prevent it.
Several proposed Amendments already introduced in Congress seek to overturn the Citizens United decision, which now allows for unlimited and mostly untraceable campaign advertising and expenditures by corporations, labor unions and individuals, so long as such expenditures are made “independent of” the candidates. The proposed Amendments range from those that would explicitly overturn the concept of money as free speech to those that stipulate that Congress has specific authority to regulate campaign financing in a manner not barred by any other section of the Constitution. At least one other proposed Amendment would impose full public financing of campaigns and would outlaw all private funding except in collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot – and even this would be limited to $100 per person.
Fix Our America supports ALL these proposed Amendments as well as Congressional legislation that would re-impose rules that require a measure of free airtime on the public air waves for all candidates. We also support holding all elections over a two-day weekend. And Fix Our America strongly backs efforts by campaign reform organizations to consolidate proposed Amendments, so long as the final proposed Amendment bars private funding and includes public financing.
Why bar private funding altogether? The inherent corrosion of the system was apparent even before the Citizens United decision. Prime example: Wall St. and the big banks in the '90s "persuading" with their campaign dollars both political parties to remove the restrictions that had been imposed on them in the 1930s in response to their financial recklessness that brought on the Great Depression. The entire country has reeled from the Great Recession that ensued once these institutions were again de-regulated and allowed to gamble with trillions, with the real risk backed by the U.S. government.
This is reason enough to amend the problem away. There is no other realistic way that the financial community can be brought back to play by sane rules, so that taxpayers aren't on line for its recklessness, as we still are now - and for trillions of dollars. Neither political party is going to change the fundamental rules dramatically (the Obama administration has made only tweaks) as long as both are so dependent on campaign contributions from this source.