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Letter to Lamar Smith, Chairman House Committee on the Judiciary - Urging Judiciary Committee Hearing to Address Citizens United

Congresswoman Edwards Leads 9 House Colleagues in Letter Urging Judiciary Committee Hearing to Address Citizens United

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) led 9 House colleagues today in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging the committee to examine pending constitutional amendment proposals to Citizens United vs. FEC. Each of the 10 Members has introduced their own constitutional amendment, varying in scope and approach, but believes jointly that the House Judiciary Committee must hold its first hearing in the 112th Congress on such a critical issue before the November elections.

"Citizens United is having a significant and immediate impact on our elections, threatening the health of our democracy," said Congresswoman Edwards. "The number and varied approaches to each of the 11 constitutional amendments introduced in the House are indicative of the severity of the threat to our elections and the need for input from the House Judiciary Committee. We urge Chairman Smith to address our request promptly and to schedule a hearing on this important matter before the November elections."

The Letter is signed by Representatives Sutton (OH-13), McGovern (MA-3), Yarmuth (KY-3), Kaptur (OH-3), Kucinich (OH-10), Ellison (MN-5), Deutch (FL-19), Schrader (OR-5), and Schiff (CA-29).

July 24, 2012

The Honorable Lamar Smith
Chairman
House Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John Conyers
Ranking Member
House Committee on the Judiciary
B-351 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Conyers:

We are writing to request a hearing before the November elections to examine pending constitutional amendment proposals introduced in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and related cases. As the House sponsors of our own constitutional remedies to Citizens United, each varying in scope and approach, we note that not a single hearing has been held by the House Judiciary Committee or its subcommittees in the 112th Congress on this urgent matter.

While there are several important interim reforms that Congress has debated and should pursue to mitigate the influx of unregulated money in our elections, including the Fair Elections Now Act and the DISCLOSE Act, the Citizens United decision leaves Congress with only one remaining option -- to amend the Constitution. We do not take this step lightly since the Constitution has only been amended 27 times in our nation's history. Yet, we each find such action is warranted as we face the threat Citizens United poses to the health of our democracy. That is precisely why we believe it imperative that our various constitutional amendments be considered by your Committee and debated before this House. Congress has no greater responsibility than to protect the integrity of our elections, a belief we know you share.

With fewer than 25 legislative days remaining before the November elections, we respectfully request that the House Judiciary Committee hold a hearing on constitutional remedies to address the Citizens United decision at the earliest possible opportunity. Thank you for your consideration of our request.


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