Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) today hailed the Berkeley City Council vote calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which gave corporations and wealthy individuals the power to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaign advertisements.
Since the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling, Super PACs and corporations have spent record amounts of money in elections nationwide. Corporate spending soared during the 2010 election cycle to $294 million, 427 percent over the previous mid-term elections in 2006.
The Berkeley City Council vote is part of the nationwide Resolutions Week effort to pass more than 100 local resolutions against the Citizens United case.
"Government is supposed to work for all of us, but that won't happen until corporations stop buying the government they want instead of the government people deserve," Rep. Lee said. "Corporations are not people. This decision has undermined our democracy, and it's great to see state and local governments standing up against special interest control over our elections. In America, democracy should never, ever be for sale."
Rep. Lee welcomed the groundswell of support from hundreds of elected officials and organizations for reversing this ruling. Twenty Members of Congress have introduced constitutional amendments to reverse Citizens United alongside 21 state legislatures and more than 150 cities, including Berkeley, Oakland, and Albany.
As of May 23, 2012, 555 groups organized as Super PACs have reported receiving $216 million and spending $113 million in the 2012 election cycle. Overall spending in the 2012 election is predicted to reach up to $8 billion.