Beyond resistance: Keeping dark money out of politics

August 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

It is the 20th day of my email series, “Beyond Resistance: The things we should do to make us safer, healthier, and more economically secure.” Today’s topic: campaign finance reform.

Dark” special interest money is a direct threat to our democracy. The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC was a radical step toward unraveling the modest campaign finance controls that were in place, and escalated the campaign spending arms race.

Citizens and their issues are drowned out by hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on political campaigns, with no limits, transparency, or accountability. The numbers don’t lie. In the 2008 election cycle, before the Citizens United ruling, outside spending accounted for $338 million. In 2016, six years post-decision, outside spending was at $1.4 billion. That’s a 300 percent increase.

Corporations are not people. We must keep dark money out of politics, and make elections and campaigns about the people’s issues. That is why I am a strong advocate for the following three critical bills:

  • H.J.Res. 48: Amends the U.S. Constitution to provide that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only, not corporations.
  • H.J.Res. 31, the Democracy for All amendment: Amends the U.S. Constitution to reverse highly controversial Supreme Court decisions, like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC, which have given corporations and America’s wealthiest donors the right to buy unlimited influence in our elections.
  • H.R. 1134, the DISCLOSE Act: Requires all corporations, unions, and Super PACs to report to the FEC within 24 hours of making a $10,000 campaign expenditure and requires that corporations paying for public communications and advertisements are publicly disclosed.

We need to make sure that people have faith that their government works for them. Without rolling back Citizens United and enacting broader campaign finance reform, this will be difficult to achieve.

I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. You can connect with me here.

Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress