Elections | Oregon

Wyden, Merkley Speak Out Against Citizens United Decision

OPB | Jan. 26, 2012 12:39 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:02 a.m. | Portland, OR

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Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have joined 20 colleagues co-sponsoring a Constitutional Amendment. It’s designed to counteract the effects of the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision.

The Citizens United ruling found that political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment.  It allows greater leeway for corporations or unions to give campaign cash to candidates.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Wyden blamed the decision for a huge influx of unregulated corporate donations.

“In my view, this decision degrades our democracy and creates the appearance that American democracy is simply up for sale to the highest bidders,” Wyden said.

Wyden says a matter of this magnitude should be left to the branch of government, in his words, “whose constituents understand not only the theory, but the practice of elections.”

The amendment would empower Congress to once again regulate federal campaign donations and spending, and allow states to regulate money used in local elections.

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