Today U.S. Senator Tom Udall welcomed the Senate Judiciary Committee's approval of his proposed constitutional amendment to restore power to regulate campaign finance to the people. Udall’s amendment would clarify in the Constitution that money does not equal speech, effectively reversing U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which have unraveled campaign finance regulations and handed undue influence over elections to corporations and wealthy donors. Following today's committee vote, Udall's amendment is expected to be considered by the full Senate later this year.
Udall issued the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to approve his constitutional amendment:
"Momentum for meaningful campaign finance reform continues to build as Americans in New Mexico and all around the country call on their elected leaders to get money out of politics and give elections back to the people. Today's committee approval of my constitutional amendment is an important step in answering their call. I appreciate the support of the Judiciary Committee and look forward to a debate and vote in the full Senate. It's time for every senator to stand up and tell their constituents if they are going to defend a broken system that puts corporations and special interests over regular voters, or if they believe in returning our government to where it began – of, by and for the people."
Udall's amendment would ensure that reasonable campaign finance regulations enacted at the state and federal level withstand constitutional challenges. Specifically, the amendment would:
-Authorize Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns, including independent expenditures.
-Allow states to regulate such spending at their level.
-Not dictate any specific policies or regulations, but instead protect campaign finance laws approved by voters, state legislatures and Congress from future constitutional challenges.
"The Supreme Court has left us one option for real reform: We must pass an amendment that will restore integrity to our elections, so that a corporation or a billionaire in one state cannot have more influence than working families in the other 49. That is not the equality envisioned by our founders, and is in direct contradiction to the kind of democracy they intended to create," Udall added.
Udall's amendment is similar to bipartisan proposals introduced in Congress dating back to 1983. Since Udall first introduced his amendment in 2011, support has grown dramatically. Today it is cosponsored by 46 senators, endorsed by 16 states and called for by than 550 municipalities all across the country. For a list of state and local resolutions supporting reform, click HERE.
For more information on Udall's amendment, click HERE.