Sen. Bernie Sanders: Money plays ‘horrendous role’ in Congress

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, December 12, 2011 20:46 EDT
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) slammed the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling Monday on CNN.

The decision held that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people, and that political spending is free speech. The ruling allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, so long as their actions were not directly coordinated with a candidate’s campaign.

“By a five to four disastrous decision, the Supreme Court said that Bank of America, Exxon Mobile and other corporations are flesh and blood people entitled to First Amendment rights,” Sanders said. “There is nobody that I know who believes that Bank of America is a human being who should be entitled to the same constitutional rights that the people of our country are.”

“What’s wrong with it is at a time when money already plays a horrendous role in terms of what goes on in Congress, what Citizens United has done is make a terrible situation worse.”

Sanders last week introduced a constitutional amendment to the U.S. Senate that would overturn the ruling.

“This is going to be a real blow to the American democratic process no matter who is funding it,” he added. “What it means in a practical sense is that when somebody comes up to vote, walks up to the table in the Senate and decides whether or not to vote against Wall Street, vote against the drug companies, vote against the coal companies, they’re going to be thinking, ‘if I cast that vote, will I go home next week and find millions and millions of dollars in corporate campaign ads in opposition to me?’ It is going to allow the big money interests in this country — who already have enormous power — to have even more power.”

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:

Photo credit: Don Shall

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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