When Citizens United was originally passed striking down federal limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions, it effectively ended elections of the people, by the people and for the people and ceded control to corporations. As per Justice Kennedy, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption and the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.”
Today on reddit Obama suggested a constitutional amendment to Citizens United might be the answer to stop the unprincipled, unethical, and contaminating influence of super pacs and dirty money.
Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.