Vermont became the third state on Thursday to call on the U.S. Congress to overturn the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.
The Vermont House passed the resolution by a 92-40 vote. The Vermont Senate passed the resolution 26-3 last week.
The 2010 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, which can raise an unlimited amount of money to influence federal elections as long as they do not directly coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.
The ruling held that limiting corporate campaign spending violated the First Amendment, because political contributions were a form of political speech and corporations were legally persons.
“The General Assembly urges Congress to consider the request of many Vermont cities and towns to propose a U.S. constitutional amendment for the state’s consideration that provides that money is not speech and corporations are not persons under the U.S. Constitution and that also affirms the constitutional rights of natural persons,” Vermont’s resolution, authored by State Senator Ginny Lyons (D), stated.
Similar resolutions have passed in Hawaii and New Mexico.
“By fighting so passionately, Vermonters have put the state on the map as opposing corporate influence in our elections. Public Citizen is proud to have played a coordinating role with our Vermont partners in this movement victory,” said Aquene Freechild, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign.
Eric W. Dolan
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