CLC Hails Schumer-Van Hollen Proposal to Address the Activist Citizens United Ruling: Statement of Meredith McGehee, Policy Director


The proposal announced today by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is a strong counter-thrust to the damage done to our democracy by the U.S. Supreme Court in its activist ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission . Once this legislation is officially introduced, Congress should move quickly to enact these measures before undisclosed corporate money, likely laundered through trade associations and front groups, floods the 2010 election cycle.

Support for this legislation should be broad and bipartisan.

The Court's narrow 5-4 majority in Citizens United is especially troubling because it ignores precedent as well as the well-documented and corrupt history of influence-buying in Washington.

The legislative remedy proposed by Sen. Schumer and Rep. Van Hollen is commendable and makes important strides to repair the damage done by the Court majority in Citizens United . By banning expenditures by foreign interests, TARP recipients, and federal contractors, and through increased disclosure to the public and to shareholders, the legislation repairs some of the damage done to our democracy by that ruling. Most important, it seeks to strengthen the role of citizens (as opposed to artificial corporate entities) in our political system. The provisions that ensure candidates access to less expensive airtime and tightens the FEC's loose coordination rules complement the corporate provisions.

The public outrage about the recent Supreme Court decision is not confined to one political party - Democrats, Republicans and Independents have expressed concern about the impact of this ruling. Congress must harness that concern to pass this legislative framework unveiled today by Sen. Schumer and Rep. Van Hollen. At a time when the public is angry about the role of banks and other corporate entities are playing in our economy and people are feeling unheard in Washington, Members of Congress would be unwise to ignore the anger of the voters who sent them to our nation's Capitol to do the people's business.