Heading into the 2020 elections, the United States has got a cloud of Trump-associated issues to grapple with — and the longer term issue of corporate spending in politics. This week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced a Constitutional amendment to curb that ballooning spending that would overturn the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Citizens United, which classified corporate political spending as protected speech. In other words — the court said that it came under the wide-reaching protections of the First Amendment, and the money flows picked up the pace, fast.
Schiff wants to change that in the face of prominent associated issues like the tens of millions of dollars the National Rifle Association (NRA) spent to help elect Donald Trump in 2016 — although notably, for the first time in awhile, the organization was outspent during the 2018 midterm elections by groups on the opposite side.
Still, the issue remains, and Schiff says:
‘Our democracy is not for sale. We must stop the flood of dark money from drowning out the voices of everyday citizens. That’s why I just introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore power to the American people.’
Our democracy is not for sale. We must stop the flood of dark money from drowning out the voices of everyday citizens.
That’s why I just introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore power to the American people. pic.twitter.com/YNYzb35uSf
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 8, 2019
Ironically, past close Trump ally David Bossie is the current president and chairman of the board for Citizens United, the major conservative nonprofit organization that brought the case that sparked the decision Schiff is targeting. He’s been in hot water recently for the revelation that another organization he helps lead called the Presidential Coalition had brought in almost $20 million over the last couple of years or so but only spent a small fraction of that — meaning less than half a million dollars — on actual political action. The Trump campaign rebuked Bossie; although they didn’t mention him or his group by name, the meaning of their statement was pretty clear against “any group, including ones run by people who claim to be part of our ‘coalition'” who prove most interested in “filling their own pockets with money from innocent Americans’ paychecks, and sadly, retirements.”
The issue goes beyond Bossie and Citizens United themselves, however. Billions of dollars has flowed into the U.S. political system in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in question, and in response, Schiff’s amendment would allow states to impose their own restrictions on corporate political spending in addition for the opportunity for Congressional action to that effect.
Trying to get the Constitutional amendment passed is a whole additional issue, besides the pressing nature of what it deals with. Amendments have to be approved by two-thirds of both Congressional chambers and then sent to the states for consideration. Four-fifths of the states have to approve the measure for it to become law — and considering the current political environment, calling that a longshot proposition would be putting it lightly.
Still, Democrats are pursuing other ways to rein in corruption around the U.S. political system. The Democrat-majority House passed the monumental ethics reform legislation known as the For the People Act, which if made law, would protect everything from voter rights to the integrity of various positions across federal government.
Featured Image via screenshot