Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) joined alongside Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Robert Brady (D-Pa.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), to introduce as co-sponsors legislation authored by Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.) entitled the, "Restoring Confidence in Our Democracy Act." Representative John Conyers, Jr. released this statement following the introduction of the bill:
"The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission overturned more than a century of legal precedent, and has already had serious repercussions for our democracy. In both this year's presidential election and the midterm elections in 2010, corporate interests have been effectively able to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections to influence the selection of public officials.
"The notion that corporate speech is no different than an individual's political speech is troubling. It was not the law when the Constitution was written. It was not the law before the Citizens United decision was announced. It should not be the law in the future.
"It is for these reasons that I am pleased to co-sponsor the "Restoring Confidence in Our Democracy Act.'
"This legislation subjects Super PACs to the same restrictions as ordinary PACs. For instance, Super PACs would be obliged to adhere to the same $5,000 contribution limit as a regular PAC. In addition, this bill contains provisions that prohibit corporations from making independent expenditures and deploying electioneering communications. Already this election cycle, outside independent groups have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in an attempt to influence elections. In most cases, these expenditures cannot even be traced back to an original source thanks to the shield provided by the Citizens United decision.
"The Supreme Court's ruling wrested the power of democracy out of the hands of the people and directly into the hands of moneyed interests. So long as corporations are treated as people, and money as their form of speech, America's democracy will be curbed.
"The "Restoring Confidence in Our Democracy Act' goes a long way towards reversing the damage of Citizens United, and I am proud to join my colleagues in championing it today."