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Yarmuth Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Get Big Money Out of Politics

WASHINGTON – Marking this week’s 9th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) today introduced a Constitutional amendment to override key elements of it and other recent Supreme Court decisions that have opened the floodgates for unlimited individual and special interest spending in political campaigns.

The amendment, introduced in the House as H. J. Res. 33, would amend the Constitution to clarify that 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, this 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 more citizens to run for office.

“With so much special interest money flowing through our political system, the American people are correct to wonder whether their elected officials are working for them or doing the bidding of the Wall Street banks, drug companies, or other deep-pocketed special interest groups funding their campaigns,” said Yarmuth. “Nearly limitless spending and the further weakening of campaign finance laws undermine our electoral process and threaten the foundation of our democracy. I’m proud to introduce this Constitutional Amendment to ensure a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Nine years ago, in its Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court lifted limits on corporate and special-interest spending in federal elections. Then, 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.

The most recent 2018 election was the most expensive midterm election in history, with more than $5 billion being spent, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. That total is a conservative estimate which does not include political spending that goes unreported due to disclosure loopholes.

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

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Rep. Yarmuth - Constitutional Amendment (01/24/1911:31 AMET )