Shaheen, Udall & All Senate Democrats Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

July 30, 2019

 ** Democracy for All Amendment, introduced by entire Senate Democratic Caucus, would help get big money out of politics and put power back in the hands of the American people**

(Washington, DC) - Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tom Udall (D-NM), along with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), led the entire Senate Democratic Caucus in introducing the Democracy for All Amendment, a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other devastating court decisions, help get big money out of politics, and put power back in the hands of the American people.

Citizens United and other disastrous Supreme Court decisions have unleashed a flood of unlimited corporate spending in U.S. elections and opened the door for wealthy special interests to have an outsized voice in the government. These decisions have wrongfully equated money with free speech, and wrongfully determined that big, wealthy corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people. The Democracy for All Amendment gives the power back to Congress and the states to set reasonable campaign finance rules and limit corporate spending in elections. The amendment would enshrine in the Constitution the right of the American people to regulate the raising and spending of funds in public elections, and curb the concentration of political influence held by the wealthiest Americans.  

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL).

“Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, our political system has been flooded with money from special interest groups,” said Shaheen. “We have also seen the growing influence of dark money pouring into our elections. Dark money allows secret groups with hidden agendas, even foreign actors, to influence elections without disclosing their political donations. We need only look to the 2016 presidential election to understand the lengths that foreign adversaries are willing to go to attempt to influence our elections and sow confusion in the electoral process. This legislation would help shore up our elections from these malign efforts and also reclaim the integrity of our political process by ensuring elected representatives reflect the will of the public, not special interests.”

Shaheen has long supported Congressional action to crack down on dark money in politics. In April, Shaheen and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who is also a cosponsor of the Democracy for All amendment, reintroduced the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would require organizations spending money in federal elections to disclose their donors and help guard against hidden foreign influence in our democracy.

In addition to Shaheen, Udall, Schumer and Hassan, the Democracy for All amendment is co-sponsored by the entire Senate Democratic Caucus: U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Angus King (I-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

The Democracy for All Amendment is backed by a broad range of campaign finance and government reform advocates, including End Citizens United, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, American Promise, Common Cause, Free Speech For People, and Union of Concerned Scientists. Statements of support are available HERE.

The full text of the amendment is available HERE. A background summary is available HERE and a section-by-section with FAQs is available HERE.