I have served as an elected official in the State of Florida for many years, and have seen, first-hand, some very questionable elections.
Now, the integrity of our elections is under an even graver threat: Recently the landmark Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. FEC ruled in favor of corporations having the right to spend unlimited amounts of money in swaying elections of their choosing.
The ruling is based on the Court’s opinion that corporations deserve to enjoy the same First Amendment rights as you and I. Corporations spending billions of dollars to influence elections that could ultimately help them turn a profit is now to be considered “freedom of speech”.
In our Democracy, elected officials speak on the People’s behalf. I just do not see how some officials could perform their duties with the People’s interests in mind when they have had their entire campaign financed by a corporation that expects legislation that would favor their bottom line.
Also, the Supreme Court never made a distinction between domestic and foreign corporations. Should a corporation from China deserve the freedom to influence American elections?
Something must be done to undue this damaging Supreme Court decision. Most experts think the surest way to fix this egregious error by the Court is through a Constitutional amendment. As such, my first act in Congress will be to introduce an Amendment to the Constitution restoring the right of Congress to eliminate and regulate direct corporate expenditures on elections.
We must take dramatic action and not be afraid to use our Constitutional Amendment process. When I am elected to Congress I will take charge and lead the fight against this decision that threatens the very integrity of our elections.
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The official SCOTUS decision on Citizens United v. FEC, and the court’s subsequent opinion.
Background information on the ruling and the reasons why it threatens the integrity of our Democracy.
A national poll, outlined here, shows that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the Citizens United ruling. Nearly 4 out of 5 people agree that there should be a limit to how much a corporation can spend in influencing an election. Read the rest of the poll’s findings here.
Fellow Florida Congressman, Alan Grayson has introduced what he calls the “Save our Democracy” platform to Congress in response to the SCOTUS decision. See his detailed plan here.
President Obama’s thoughts on the case. He calls for government officials to “get to work immediately” to undo what he calls “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans”.
Chris Weigant writes about the behind-the-scene dangers of the ruling. Not only will corporations have the ability to overtly spend money on behalf of candidates and issues of their choosing, but will also have discreet bargaining power that will remain unseen by the public.