Jayapal introduces constitutional amendment to curtail corporate power

Apr 4, 2023, 9:43 AM | Updated: 10:03 am

jayapal corporate...

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks during a news conference. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal and other Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced a Constitutional amendment called “We The People” that would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision and ends unlimited corporate donations to politicians.

The amendment would end “corporate personhood” and political donations counting as a form of speech, as ruled by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Rep. Jayapal: Kroger merger will ‘hurt consumers, workers’

Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) co-sponsored the bill just two days before the 13th anniversary of the Citizens United decision, looking to overturn the era of unlimited corporate donations in politics.

“Corporations are not people, and money is not speech,” said Jayapal. “In every election cycle since the disastrous Citizens United decision, we have seen more and more special interest dark money poured into campaigns across the country. My ‘We the People Amendment’ returns the power to the people by finally ending corporate constitutional rights, reversing Citizens United, and ensuring that our democracy is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people – not corporations.”

In the Citizens United decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that limiting “independent political spending” from corporations and other groups violates the First Amendment right to free speech. This overturned previous laws that argued that regulating cooperate spending in politics was an important factor in limiting corruption.

This has allowed for the creation of organizations like Super PACs, which spend more than $2.1 billion in the last presidential election, according to Open Secrets. Jayapal points to the fact that independent spending increased by more than 600% immediately after the Citizens United decision compared to the previous election cycle as a reason why this corporate spending has had an unbalanced effect on American politics.

More than 75 percent of Americans say there should be limits on campaign spending by big donors, according to polling from Pew Research.

“The exponential growth of corporate power and corrupting political influence from huge sums of money flooding elections can only be solved with a systemic solution that is equivalent in scale to these systemic problems — the We the People Amendment, which will end all corporate constitutional rights and money as free speech,”  said Dolores Guernica, Legislative Co-Director with Move to Amend, a non-partisan organization that seeks to end corporate personhood.

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Jayapal introduces constitutional amendment to curtail corporate power