For Immediate Release: January 28, 2012
Senator Seeks Ban on Unlimited Campaign Spending
Senate Joint Resolution 7 calls for a U.S. constitutional amendment prohibiting unlimited third-party spending in campaigns
JUNEAU- Senator Wielechowski (D – Anchorage) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 7 today, urging Congress and the President of the United States to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban corporations, unions, and individuals from making unlimited independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates for public office.
The resolution is in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January of 2010, which stated that government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.
“Allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace is corrupting democracy,” said Senator Wielechowski. “The massive amount of money in politics following this decision is exploding the expense of campaigns, making it difficult for new or unknown candidates to enter a race. On top of that, we are increasingly seeing the money spent by corporations and unions going to negative attacks ads that often misinform voters rather than promote productive discussion.”
Critics of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling also point out that allowing unlimited independent expenditures by corporations, unions and other individuals shifts the focus for candidates away from individual voters to those whose money can afford to sway hundreds or thousands of voters.
“This decision only made the cynicism most Americans feel about politics stronger,” said Senator Wielechowski. “If people feel as if their vote does not matter, then voter participation will continue to decline. To disenfranchise voters goes against the very principles that America’s Founding Fathers used to craft the United States Constitution.”
Support for amending campaign finance laws comes from both side of the political aisle.
Alaska’s senior U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has proposed a series of reforms and recently authored an op-ed in the Washington Post, which emphasized that “unlimited corporate and individual spending is corrosive to democracy and undermines the political process.”
Likewise Alaska Senator Mark Begich co-signed the Saving of American Democracy Amendment, noting that the
“Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision gave corporations the ability to drown out the will of the people by using the profits in their general treasury funds to influence elections. Now, corporations can use millions of dollars to defeat candidates that may threaten their bottom line. Everyday Americans simply cannot compete with the virtually limitless resources of corporations.”
SJR 7 was referred to three Senate committees for consideration: Labor and Commerce, Judiciary and Finance.
For more information, please call Senator Wielechowski at 907-242-1558 or 907-465-2435.