U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) today introduced two Constitutional amendments to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, which unleashed a flood of corporate and special interest money into the American political system.
The first amendment, HJ Res 20, advances the fundamental principle of political equality for all by empowering Congress and the States to regulate political spending. It will allow Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that will withstand Constitutional challenges.
The second amendment, HJ Res 21 , would overturn Citizens United and put a stop to the growing trend of corporations claiming first amendment rights. This "People's Rights Amendment" not only addresses corporate rights as they pertain to campaign finance, but is broader in scope to clarify that corporations are not people with Constitutional rights. Importantly, the amendment clearly protects the people's rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association, and all other such rights of the people.
"The American people are deeply troubled by the growing influence of corporations in our political discourse," Rep. McGovern said. "They are also demanding action on campaign finance reform -- because they are repulsed by the large amount of money in our campaigns. And, quite frankly, they want elected officials to spend more time on policy, on debating and deliberating on issues -- and less time dialing for dollars.
"We need to have a serious, thoughtful debate in this country about this important issue," Rep. McGovern said. "I hope that my amendments will begin to spur that debate."
The video of his floor speech, along with a copy of his remarks as prepared is below.
The text of the two amendments is attached below.