In a piece written for Huffington Post, Sen. Bernie Sanders summarized his debate with Senate colleagues over his amendment to the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United.
“I recently introduced an amendment at the Senate Budget Committee. It was pretty simple,” Sanders wrote. “It asked my Senate colleagues to begin the process of overturning the disastrous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, and to bring transparency and disclosure to the political process.”
Sanders said that without his amendment to Citizens United, and if the campaign finance system is not reformed, Congress will become “paid employees of the people who pay for their campaigns -- the billionaire class.”
“Are we comfortable with an American political system which is being dominated by a handful of billionaires?” Sanders asked. “Are we a nation that prides ourselves on one-person, one-vote, or do we tell ordinary Americans you've got one vote but the Koch brothers can spend hundreds of millions of dollars? Do we want a political system in which a handful of billionaires can buy members of the United States Congress?”
Not one Republican supported Sanders’ amendment, resulting in a loss by a 12-10 vote. Sanders said he would offer the amendment again this coming week.
The Citizens United Supreme Court case (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) essentially upheld the idea that money equals free speech; thus, associations can fund electioneering communications, meaning "broadcast, cable, or satellite communications referring to a clearly identified federal candidate within 60 days of the general election or 30 days of the primary election where that candidate is seeking office," The Center for Association Leadership reports.
Bernie Sanders' constitutional amendment would overturn this decision. The amendment stated that the government can impose "requirements to ensure the disclosure of contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of a public election by candidates, individuals, and associations of individuals," as well as "neutra limitations on all such contributions and expenditures."
Watch the amendment debate below.
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