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Yarmuth Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Get Big Money Out of Politics

WASHINGTON – As the 8th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision approaches this weekend, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) has introduced a Constitutional amendment to override key elements of recent Supreme Court decisions that have opened the floodgates for unlimited individual and special interest spending on campaigns.

The measure, H. J. Res. 126, would amend the Constitution so financial expenditures and in-kind contributions would no longer qualify as forms of protected speech under the First Amendment. First introduced by Yarmuth in 2011, the amendment would also enable Congress to establish a public financing system for campaigns that would be the sole source of all campaign funding, diminishing the influence of wealthy donors on elections and expanding opportunities for citizens to run for office.

“With huge sums of money pouring into our election system cycle after cycle, the American people are losing their basic fundamental right to meaningful and fair representation in government,” said Yarmuth. “Elections, referendums, and ballot initiatives are being bought and sold to the highest bidders, with anonymous donors and deceivingly-named special interest groups willing to lie, cheat, and steal to win out. We’ll never be able to tackle the important issues that the public rightly demands from its elected officials until we restore the principles of our democracy and put people back in power. That is why I am introducing this Constitutional Amendment and look forward to continuing to fight to ensure a basic level of honesty and integrity in our electoral system.”

Eight years ago, in its decision on Citizens United, the Supreme Court lifted limits on corporate and special-interest spending in federal elections. In 2014, the Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC overturned aggregate limits, allowing a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to political parties and candidates’ campaigns. Combined with the continued absence of stronger disclosure requirements, the decisions have led to unprecedented outside spending on campaigns – all with less accountability.

Super PACs and other outside groups spent more than $1.3 billion to influence the 2016 elections alone, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. That total is a conservative estimate that does not include political spending that goes unreported due to disclosure loopholes.

A copy of Yarmuth’s Constitutional Amendment can be found here.


Yarmuth - Constitutional Amendment (01/26/1809:39 AMET )