Baucus Testifies at Judiciary Hearing: Time to Take Back our Democracy
Senator Continues Fight Against Unregulated Corporate Campaign Finance, Hosts Tele-townhall
Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus' battle against unlimited and unaccountable corporate influence over elections cleared a key hurdle today by earning a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the first hearing of its kind in decades, Baucus testified about his constitutional amendment to restore states' rights to regulate corporate campaign finance.
"Unlimited corporate money unleashed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is threatening our democracy. One hundred years ago, the people of Montana responded with one voice loud and clear: 'we are not for sale.' Today, we must continue the fight and the surest way to get to the heart of the Supreme Court's decision is through a constitutional amendment," said Baucus. His full testimony at today's hearing is available online HERE.
During the hearing titled, "Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs," various groups delivered a petition that gathered more than 1.7 million signatures in support of a constitutional amendment to address unlimited corporate campaign financing. Following his testimony, Baucus held a tele-town hall with Montanans to discuss his constitutional amendment and answer questions.
"Recent Supreme Court decisions threaten the basic fairness and balance we Montanans expect from our elections. We appreciate Senator Baucus taking this issue to the top level through a constitutional amendment," said CB Pearson, Treasurer For I-166, Stand with Montanans: Corporations Aren't People - Ban Corporate Campaign Spending. "Montana experienced firsthand abusive, corrupt corporations trying to run the business of this state, we don't want corporate ownership of our elections."
"As students, we want our voices to be heard in our elections-that's what Democracy is all about. Senator Baucus' Constitutional Amendment would put elections back in the hands of people and make sure our voices aren't drowned out by big corporations," said Haynes Hansen, University of Montana student and MontPIRG Chairman.
Baucus' constitutional amendment would restore the authority to regulate corporate political expenditure and protect states' right to regulate contributions in the way that works best for them. The amendment does not modify the First Amendment, and the language specifies that this does not affect freedom of the press in any way.
Baucus' measure would amend the Constitution of the United States to restore Congress' authority to regulate political contributions. The move is in response to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission.
In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations, including foreign corporations, had the right to spend unlimited dollars from their general funds to make independent expenditures at any time during an election cycle - including directly calling for the election or defeat of a candidate.
Baucus first introduced his amendment in July of 2010. He has also voted in favor of the DISCLOSE Act to help end corruption in political contributions. Passage of Baucus' legislation would further ensure that Montanans' voices are not drowned out by influence of big corporations.
To amend the Constitution, the measure must pass both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives with 2/3 of the vote, and then must be ratified by 3/4 of the states.
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