Countermanding Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission

Resolution number 10-07.06e

WHEREAS, the protections afforded by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the people of our nation are fundamental to our democracy and while corporations make important contributions to our society, corporations, as legally created economic entities, do not share all of the same rights and privileges as natural persons, such as the right to vote and the right to seek public office, and yet they have special advantages not enjoyed by natural persons, such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of assets, that allows them to spend prodigious sums on campaign messages that have little or no correlation with the beliefs held by natural persons; and

WHEREAS, since 1907 Congress has placed special limitations on campaign spending by corporations, the Supreme Court in the 1982 unanimous FEC v. NRWC case wrote that congressional adjustment of federal election laws to account for the unique economic and legal attributes of corporations should be given deference by the courts and that in order to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption the Court said “there is no reason why it may not …be accomplished by treating…corporations, and similar organizations differently from individuals,” and in a 2002 bi-partisan effort to limit contributions to election campaigns, Congress passed the Campaign Reform Act of 2002; and

WHEREAS, in a radical rejection of well-settled law, the current Supreme Court by a 5-4 decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case, overturned the 2002 Campaign Reform Act and opened the floodgates to a massive spending spree by corporations, necessitating response from Congress, which has a duty to protect democracy and guard against potentially detrimental effects of unbridled corporate spending;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party calls upon the Congress to use all means within its power to reform federal campaign laws so that we have a level playing field with laws that have reasonable spending limits and reporting requirements for small as well as large contributors, and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to restore the power of Congress and state legislatures to safeguard democracy by placing appropriate limits on the ability of corporations to influence the outcome of elections through political contributions and other expenditures; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be transmitted to all members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation.

Authors/Sponsors: Resolutions Committee; San Diego County Democratic Party;
Los Angeles County Democratic Party

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Adopted by the California Democratic Party
At its Executive Board Meeting\xe2\x80\xa8
Holiday Inn San Jose
July 18, 2010

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