February 24, 2010

Dodd & Udall Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Supreme Court Campaign Finance Ruling

WASHINGTON - Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) today introduced a constitutional amendment to reverse a recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance that has the effect of allowing virtually unlimited corporate spending in elections. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) joined Dodd as an original cosponsor of the constitutional amendment.

"I am a firm believer in the sanctity of the First Amendment, and I believe we must continue to do all we can to protect the free speech rights of the American people. But I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court's conclusion that money is speech, and that corporations should be treated the same as individual Americans when it comes to protected, fundamental speech rights," said Dodd.

"Ultimately, we must cut through the underbrush and go directly to the heart of the problem, and that is why I am proposing this constitutional amendment: because constitutional questions need constitutional answers. I believe it is the best way to save our democratic system of government from the continued corrosion of special interest influence," Dodd continued.

"The Supreme Court's decision to encourage the corrosive effects special interest money is having on the election process fundamentally contradicts the American ideal that campaigns should be about the best ideas and not the biggest bank accounts," said Udall. "We have long needed substantive campaign finance reform and I am proud to join Senator Dodd in this effort to amend our Constitution and help put our elections back in the hands of average Americans."

Last month, the Supreme Court concluded in a highly controversial 5-4 ruling that corporations deserve the same free speech protections as individual Americans, enabling them to spend freely from their corporate treasuries on campaign advertising.

The constitutional amendment would authorize Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns, including independent expenditures, and allow states to regulate such spending at their level. It would also provide for implementation and enforcement of the amendment through legislation.

In addition to the amendment, Dodd and Udall plan to support interim legislative efforts to blunt the Supreme Court's ruling, including increased disclosure requirements on corporate campaign spending and other efforts to further limit the influence of foreign corporations in the democratic process.