From 2013-2020, we worked with the Maryland General Assembly to pass the Democracy Amendment Resolution, which would add Maryland to the five states that have already passed similar resolutions. California, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont all have called for a convention of states to propose a 28th Constitutional Amendment, specifically to enable Congress and state legislatures to regulate donations and spending in our election processes.
Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United v. FEC and other cases have deemed regulation of big money unconstitutional, disastrously ruling that money is speech, and that corporations and other artificial entities have Constitutional rights. A Constitutional amendment is the best way to strengthen democracy because the Supreme Court has valued corporations' and wealthy individuals' rights over our right to equal representation in government. The Court has the authority to overrule, as unconstitutional, legislation that would limit the corrupt influence of the powerful. In the 2020 election cycle, we saw strong attacks on the right to vote and to have votes counted. Spending on Presidential and Congressional campaigns reached nearly $15 billion, more than double the 2016 amount. Pay-to-play politics has produced a corporations-first, Wall-Street-first pandemic bailout while so many suffer.
Huge bipartisan support
A national survey of voters by the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy reported that 81% of Americans support a 28th U.S. Constitutional Amendment—including 75% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats. The 2018 survey confirmed that this overwhelming majority favors an amendment to "effectively overturn the [U.S. Supreme Court] Citizens United decision by allowing Congress and the states to regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others who seek to influence elections."
"Numerous polls have found extremely high levels of dissatisfaction with the Federal government, especially Congress," the report stated. "This dissatisfaction is closely related to a widespread public perception that elected officials in Washington do not serve the common good of the people, but rather special interests, corporations, and the wealthy."
Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has urged citizens to unite to achieve a U.S. Constitutional amendment: “People should look to history, and realize—even if they feel it is very difficult to pass an amendment to undo ‘Citizens United’—we’ve passed amendments before. When the public gets mobilized, almost anything can happen. Lincoln once said, ‘With public sentiment, anything is possible. Without it, nothing is possible.’”
Pending in the U.S. House of Representatives
On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission of January 21, 2020, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) wrote that the decision "catalyzed our current era of super PACs and corporate power....Citizens United vastly expanded the rights of corporate entities and the super-wealthy to spend or invest their money to influence political elections and deepened the corrupting electoral influence of big money."*
To reverse these corrupting influences, Rep. Jayapal introduced H.J.Res.48 in the U.S. House of Representatives. It proposes a U.S. Constitutional amendment providing that rights protected by the Constitution are those of natural persons only—not extended to artificial entities, such as corporations. It requires federal, state, and local government to regulate or limit election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures. It requires that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed. And it prohibits the judiciary from interpreting any expenditure to influence elections as speech.
In short, H.J.Res.48 is the strongest Congressional resolution for a 28th Constitutional Amendment to date. It would reverse the effects of Citizens United and related court decisions—as the vast majority of Americans demand.
Ask your Senators to introduce
and support a similarly
strong bill in the U.S. Senate
Former Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) addressed the importance of an amendment at the American Promise Leadership Conference in 2018. "Simple logic shows that corporations cannot and should not be equated to people. The Constitution begins, 'We the people,' not 'We the corporations,'" he said. "There is no more compelling case for a 28th Amendment dismantling corporate hegemony than this three-word premise upon which our Constitution is based."
No legislative reform alone can get it done
Since the Supreme Court can rule that laws passed by Congress are unconstitutional, the surest way to reform our political system is to pass the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A brief look back and forward
The U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision invalidated virtually all prior campaign finance laws, and prevented federal, state, and local legislators from creating new ones.
Think back to the time when African Americans were property, when women had no right to vote, when poll taxes locked out millions of Americans from the voting booth, or when young Americans could be drafted into the armed services yet had no right to vote.
All of those dangerous propositions were struck down because Americans responded with amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Seven of our 27 Constitutional Amendments have overturned U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Every generation of Americans has used the public’s legal right in the U.S. Constitution’s Article V to overturn prior Supreme Court decisions and renew the American promise.