It is no secret that corporations wield too much power in Washington. From drug companies that lobby against negotiated prices for seniors, to oil companies standing in the way of green energy legislation, far too often, the voices of the American people are drowned out by special interests.
Unfortunately, this problem is only slated to get worse. The Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision gives corporations a blank check to spend during every election cycle. This ruling threatens to undermine the rights of Americans to have influence over their own elections by opening the doors to campaigns run by corporations.
My name is Ted Deutch, and I am running in the nation's next special congressional election in less than 2 weeks. Like most Americans, I believe the Supreme Court's recent decision to allow more corporate influence in our elections threatens the fabric of our democracy.
As such, I pledge today that if I win election to Congress in the special election on April 13th, my first act will be to introduce a Constitutional Amendment restoring the right of Congress to eliminate and regulate direct corporate expenditures in our elections.
The Supreme Court's ruling was not a victory for free speech; it was a blow to the American people and those elected to represent them. Individuals candidates could find their messages drowned out by corporate-backed campaigns with unlimited budgets. We must draw a sharp distinction between free speech made by individuals (and groups of individuals) versus corporate entities seeking to influence elections for the purpose of growing their profit margins. We must also protect the integrity of American elections by preventing foreign-owned or multinational corporations from influencing our democracy. Our government must function in a way that supports our domestic needs, not the whims of foreign-owned conglomerates that may not put our nation's interests first.
I will take the lead on this vital issue in Congress, but I need your help getting there. Tea Party activists are mobilizing to replicate their success in Massachusetts with the upset victory of Scott Brown. D.
In the Florida State Senate, I have seen firsthand the corrupting influence special interest money has on the legislative process. Just a week ago, the Republican majority voted to reopen our legislature's doors to the flow of corporate money. My local paper covered my opposition to the legislation:
"The bill creates "affiliated party committees," or APCs, much like the old leadership funds lawmakers outlawed 20 years ago because they gave lobbyists too much influence in the legislature... Sen. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who is running for Congress, and other Democrats objected to that portion of the election reform (HB 1207) because they don't want "to [just] let people see the six figure contributions that are coming in from special interests. We should ban them."
Bills like the one mentioned above highlight how special interests are already taking advantage of the Citizens United decision to regain their influence in state legislatures. It is clear that our very system of elections is threatened by this ruling, and it will take federation action to fix this problem.
This is exactly the reason why our Constitutional amendment process exists, and it is time we used it again.
Thank you for joining me in this effort.