50 signatures reached
To: Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine
Support the Democracy for All Amendment (SJ Res 19)
Cosponsor and vote for Senate Joint Resolution 19 (the Democracy for All Amendment). Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and related cases have opened the floodgates to let special interest money dominate and corrupt our elections. This constitutional amendment would restore the authority of Congress and the States to regulate contributions and spending in our elections.
Why is this important?
SJ Res 19 proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn several harmful Supreme Court decisions, such as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which have allowed unlimited spending in federal and state elections. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged that the Senate will vote on Senator Udall’s constitutional amendment when it returns from recess on September 8.
We Virginia voters strongly support SJ Res 19 and urge you to become a co-sponsor and vote for the amendment. Five members of the Supreme Court have asserted that the First Amendment applies to corporations and that, therefore, restrictions on spending are impermissible restrictions on speech. Broad language in the Citizens United decision overturned 100 years of federal and state laws limiting corporate expenditures on elections. The decision has ultimately given rise to Super PACs and secret campaign spending. The McCutcheon decision compounded those harmful effects. In the 2012 election cycle, corporations, wealthy individuals, and other groups spent $1.1 billion—and over $300 million in secret—on federal campaigns alone.
Most Virginians reject these Supreme Court decisions. We view the corrupting influence of corporations and money in elections as a direct threat to our democracy. We contend that—contrary to what these decisions have implied—corporations are not people and money is not speech. Corporations, which are created by law and given special privileges not accorded to natural persons, should not have the same constitutional free speech rights as natural persons in our elections. Money should not be considered speech because it is property; the wealthiest corporations and individuals should not drown out the speech of others simply by virtue of their wealth.
The Democratic Party of Virginia also supports overturning Citizens United and restoring Democracy to all citizens regardless of the amount of money they have to spend on elections.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that the Constitution must have a mode of amendment for when experience or change of circumstances shall have manifested that any part of it is unadapted to the good of the nation. The good of the nation clearly is not served by Citizens United. Fifty Senators have already indicated their support for the Udall amendment. Currently, you are two of only five Democratic members of the Senate caucus who are not yet cosponsoring SJ Res 19. We urge you to join your colleagues in supporting this important bill.
How it will be delivered
Petitions will be delivered in person to Sen. Warner and Sen. Kaine on September 5th. Please join us in the Dirksen Cafeteria at 11am.