Sponsored by Reps. John Conyers (Mich.), senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and Donna Edwards (D-Md.), the proposal would amend the Constitution to empower Congress and the states to limit corporate spending on political activities.
In the controversial Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court ruled that government limits on corporate funding of political broadcasts for or against individual candidates violate the rights to free speech guaranteed under the Constitution.
The ruling effectively undid certain provisions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, which was designed to prevent a deluge of corporate money in elections.
Writing in dissent, now-retired Justice John Paul Stevens, representing the court’s liberal wing, argued that corporations and individuals often have very different interests. The decision, he warned, “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation.”
Edwards on Tuesday argued that a spike in corporate spending on campaigns since the decision has proven Stevens correct.
“Since that flawed ruling was issued, campaign spending by outside groups including corporations surged more than four-fold to reach nearly $300 million in the 2010 election cycle,” Edwards said in a news release.