US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey
**Amendment would help get big money out of politics and put power back in the hands of the American people**
Washington (September 17, 2021) – Today, U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), along with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in their announcement that they will reintroduce the Democracy for All Amendment next week. This constitutional amendment would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, as well as other alarming decisions around campaign finance that led to floods of corporate and dark money in politics and diminished the voice of the American people in elections. These decisions have wrongfully equated money with free speech, and unfairly determined that big, wealthy corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people. Shaheen’s announcement coincides with Constitution Day, which commemorates the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and celebrates U.S. citizenry.
The Democracy for All Amendment would put power back in the hands of the public and get big money out of politics by empowering Congress and states to set reasonable campaign finance rules and limiting corporate spending. 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.
“Ensuring we are truly a government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ is a core democratic value that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, hold dear. That’s why this constitutional amendment is so necessary, and on Constitution Day, I’m glad to announce I’ll be leading the charge to return the power to the people and get special interest and dark money out of our elections,” said Senator Shaheen. “The outsized influence of big money in American politics is a dangerous threat to the functioning of our democracy. The Citizens United ruling opened the floodgates for dark money and special and foreign interests to influence our politics with little accountability. We must safeguard our elections from these threats and ensure our politics reflect the will of the public – I hope both Democrats and Republicans will join me in this effort.”
“As the influence of dark money in our elections continues to grow, the voices of ordinary Americans will continue to be drowned out by the wealthiest individuals and corporations,” said Senator Luján. “In addition, state legislatures across the country have passed multiple voter suppression laws that deliberately and disproportionately limit access to the ballot for voters of color. That’s precisely why this amendment is needed to get big money out of our politics and place the powers of our democracy back in the hands of our citizens. This Constitution Day, I’m proud to stand with Senator Shaheen and Leader Schumer and introduce this amendment to overturn Citizens’ United, restore our democracy, and empower voters once again.”
“I welcome this urgent need for this Constitutional Amendment which puts power back where it belongs; in the hands of the people of New Hampshire and throughout the United States. Sadly, we have allowed our public policies to be dictated by the undue influences of special interests and even now, we are at risk of foreign governments funding our elections. We need all Americans, regardless of party affiliations, to come together on common ground to protect the power of our voices and mitigate the use of dark money as a tool for power. We need all Americans to help get this Constitutional Amendment ratified,” said Dr. Betty Tamposi, Assistant Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and former member of the Board of Governors of the University of New Hampshire.
”A great way to celebrate Constitution Day. Thank you Senator Shaheen for working to change the Constitution to end the influence of big money. This 28th Amendment to the Constitution to put the American people – not money, not corporations, not unions or special interests – in control of our destiny and our lives,” said Olivia Zink, Executive Director of Open Democracy.
“Big money in politics and agriculture is contributing to the extinction of small dairy farms in favor of consolidation for the profit of a few large corporations. This comes at the expense of our rural economy, environment, food security and way of life. We applaud Senator Shaheen for taking a stand,” said Julie Davenson, the Executive Director Stonewall Farm and NOFA NH Board Member.
“I’ve worked at the grassroots level in New Hampshire for many years to promote an amendment to the US Constitution to restore our democracy and promote a government which represents all of us. I’m grateful Senator Shaheen is sponsoring this amendment to ensure our government isn’t just responsive to just a few excessively wealthy donors. New Hampshire was the twentieth state to call for this amendment, and other states are following along. I’m hopeful this is the year we ratify the Democracy for All Amendment,” said Corinne Dodge of New Hampshire Voters Restoring Democracy.
“Here’s a big-picture reform we can all get behind — curbing the power of out-of-state big money and restoring New Hampshire voters’ power to control our own elections,” said Jim Rubens, former GOP State Senator and past chair of the NH GOP Platform Committee.
U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev) are also cosponsors of the Democracy for All Amendment.
Shaheen has long supported Congressional action to crack down on dark money in politics. Earlier this year, Shaheen helped reintroduce 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. Additionally, Shaheen previously called out millions of dollars’ worth of dark money ads in New Hampshire and across the country that sought to derail bipartisan efforts in Congress to end surprise medical billing. A report by the New York Times revealed that the group behind this ad campaign, Doctor Patient Unity, is a front for private equity firms on Wall Street.