Maine Joins Call To Overturn ‘Citizens United,’ Rid Elections Of Unlimited Corporate Donations

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    In this Jan. 20, 2012  photo, people hold signs during a gathering on the anniversary of the Citizens United decision in Montpelier, Vt. First, it was the Vermont senator with socialist leanings. Then it was Jerry of Ben & Jerry's ice cream fame. Now there are about 50 Vermont communities ready to chime in on a proposal to pass a Constitutional amendment to clarify that corporations do not have the same rights as human beings., (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

    In this Jan. 20, 2012 photo, people hold signs during a gathering on the anniversary of the Citizens United decision in Montpelier, Vt. Nearby Maine has rejected that decision. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

    This week Maine became the 13th state to reject the influence of “wealthy special interests” in elections by calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Citizens United decision giving corporations the same rights as people.

    The state of 1.3 million joins more than 280 cities and a bevy of municipalities in passing resolutions that call for the decision to be overturned.

    The growing number of communities opposed to the decision follows the 2012 election cycle, where Democrats and Republicans spent a whopping $6 billion, much of it coming from donations made by corporations and wealthy individuals.

    “We’ve seen the impact in recent elections in Maine as out-of-state money has flooded into the state, and as total spending supporting and opposing candidates has grown exponentially,” said Sen. Richard Woodbury (I-Maine).

    The resolution builds momentum for the Move to Amend Coalition, a grassroots movement with more than 280,000 supporters that seeks to create elections free of corporate money.

    “Polls show that 80 percent of the American public is with us consistently. When we put this issue on the ballot, even in conservative communities, bills pass by 70, 80 percent — supermajorities,” Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, national director of Move to Amend, told Mint Press News.

    Critics like Sopoci-Belknap have labeled the 2010 decision as corrupting the democratic process, allowing corporations to donate large sums to influence the outcome of political races.

    “It’s not good democracy,” said Senator Woodbury on the Senate floor at the time of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling. “It’s something much closer to buying influence over government.”

    The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group, finds that the candidate who spends the most money on a campaign wins 93 percent of the time in House races and 83 percent of the time in Senate races.

    For advocates of a publicly-funded electoral system, overturning Citizens United remains a top priority in the push to eliminate special interest money from the electoral process at the local, state and federal levels. Doing so will require a constitutional amendment, supported by growing minorities in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

    “In light of the disastrous Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case, I see no alternative but a constitutional amendment,” said Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) proposing a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United in 2011.

    Congressman Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) followed Sanders, introducing a similar constitutional amendment in the House in February.

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