07.20.17

Rep. Schiff Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Amendment Would Allow Reasonable Limits on Donations and Option for Public Financing for Candidates

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and increase regulation of campaign contributions and spending. In 2010, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision struck down decades of restrictions on corporate campaign spending and allowed corporations to spend unlimited funds to run campaign advertisements. 

The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United overturned decades of legal precedent,” Schiff said.  “The regulatory process is at a standstill as we watch billions of dark money pour into elections. While amending the Constitution is an extraordinary step, in this case the damage to our democratic process by unrestrained and anonymous spending by wealthy individuals and corporations requires it.”

The Amendment makes it clear that the Constitution does not restrict the ability of Congress or the States to propose reasonable content-neutral limitations on campaign contributions and independent expenditures to protect the integrity of our democracy. It is a concise statement of this principle, and provides:

"Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to forbid Congress or the states from imposing reasonable content-neutral limitations on private campaign contributions or independent election expenditures."

The Amendment also allows – but does not require – public financing of campaigns when states like Arizona choose to enact such laws. It reads:

"Nor shall this Constitution prevent Congress or the states from enacting systems of public campaign financing, including those designed to restrict the influence of private wealth by offsetting campaign spending or independent expenditures with increased public funding."

In November 2016, California voters passed Prop 59, a ballot measure that called on California’s elected officials to work towards overturning Citizens United and increase regulation of campaign contributions and spending.

There are 16 original co-sponsors of the Amendment.