The New Mexico state legislature has approved a resolution that urges the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.
“This marks a major victory for the constitutional amendment movement to reclaim our democracy,” said John Bonifaz, director of Free Speech for People, a coalition of groups that oppose the controversial ruling.
“The Citizens United ruling presents a direct and serious threat to the integrity of our elections, unleashing a torrent of corporate money into our political process,” he added. “The ruling is also the most extreme extension yet of a corporate rights doctrine which has been eroding our First Amendment and our US Constitution for the past 30 years. As with prior egregious Supreme Court rulings which threatened our democracy, we the people must exercise our power under Article V of the Constitution to enact a constitutional amendment which will preserve the promise of American self-government: of, for, and by the people.”
In the Citizens United ruling, the Supreme Court held that First Amendment prohibited the government from placing limits on for-profit and not-for-profit corporations’ independent political spending.
The ruling 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.
Old-fashioned PACs, in contrast, can only accept annual donations of $5,000 or less and give a maximum of $5,000 per election to candidates and another $15,000 to political parties. Super PACs have also exploited a loophole that allows them to postpone the disclosure of their donors until after the elections they participate in.
New Mexico is the second state to call for such a constitutional amendment. Hawaii passed a similar resolution in April 2010. A number of cities, including Los Angeles and New York City, have passed similar resolutions as well.