The New York Assembly’s Election Law Committee on Tuesday approved a resolution to call upon the United States Congress send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The resolution was introduced by Assemblyman James Brennan (D). It mirrors a similar resolution passed by the New York City, Albany, Danby and Ithaca.
“More and more Americans are becoming alarmed by the threat to our democracy as super PACs swamp our upcoming national elections,” Brennan said. “Overturning Citizens United must become a national movement.”
The controversial Citizens United ruling struck down key provisions of the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law and gave rise to super PACS, officially known as independent-expenditure only committees.
The groups can raise an unlimited amount of money to influence federal elections as long as they do not directly coordinate with a candidate’s campaign, allowing campaign spending by outside groups to skyrocket.
Public Citizen and a number of other groups, such as Move to Amend, have pushed the symbolic resolutions in cities and state legislatures across the country. The New Mexico and Hawaii legislatures have already passed the resolutions.
“New York should seize the moment by calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and return fair elections and constitutional rights to the people,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. “It is because of the work of dedicated activists throughout the nation that we have gotten this far. It will be because of their passion and drive that we will ultimately be successful in amending the constitution.”
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