Real Movement to Get Money Out

Four Years After ‘Citizens United,’ There Is Real Movement to Remove Big Money From Politics

From THE NATION 1/21/14

BY JOHN NICHOLS @NicholsUprising

Four years after an activist majority on the United States Supreme Court struck down barriers to the buying of elections by multinational corporations—with the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that signaled an intention to dismantle remaining restraints on money in politics—a broad-based movement has emerged to undo the damage done by the Court.

Citizens United

This is a coalition that refuses to tinker around the edges of the crisis.

It is boldly demanding that the US Constitution be amended—a reform sufficient to prevent the High Court from transforming American democracy into a dollarocracy.

“I’ll grant that it’s not easy. Amending the Constitution should not be easy,” says Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, which has been a key player in the movement. “But in just four years, we’ve brought what many deemed a pipe dream into the mainstream.”

People for the American Way president Michael Keegan agrees.

While there is no question that “the deeply misguided Citizens United ruling four years ago brought immeasurable harm to our democracy,” Keegan says, “it also inspired a re-energized national movement to get big money out of politics.”

That movement has accomplished more than all but the most optimistic reformers could have imagined on January 21, 2010.

Sixteen American states have formally demanded that Congress recognize that the Constitution must be amended in order to re-establish the basic American premise that “money is property and not speech, and [that] the Congress of the United States, state legislatures and local legislative bodies should have the authority to regulate political contributions and expenditures…”

Six states made the call for corporate accountability in a three-month period last year, making 2013 a banner year for a movement that began with little attention and little in the way of institutional support following the US Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling.

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