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by
Bridget Johnson

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June 3, 2014 - 8:12 am

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) argued “a constitutional amendment is what this nation needs to bring sanity back to political campaigns and restore Americans’ confidence in their elected leaders.”

That amendment, proposed by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), would allow Congress to regulate campaign finance, including Super PACs, at the federal level while giving states the same authority to regulate spending and fundraising at their level.

The senators introduced the amendment a year ago in an attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

“I’ve been asking Nevadans to vote for me for decades, and I’ve seen firsthand how this dark money is perverting our political process,” Reid testified. “I ran for re-election in 1998 against John Ensign, 5 years before the passage of McCain-Feingold. That election was a miserable experience, for both my opponent and me, because of the influence of special interests. In 2004, after we passed McCain-Feingold, the campaign felt as if the air had been cleared. But by 2010, following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the situation was as bad as ever. Corporations and special interests were meddling in races like never before. It has only gotten worse since.”

Reid complained that “outside groups” spent more than $1 billion in the 2012 presidential campaign because campaign finance decisions “eviscerated our campaign finance laws and opened the floodgates for special interests.”

“I find it hard to fathom that my Republican colleagues would want to defend the status quo. Do any members of this committee really think the status quo is working?… How could everyday, working American families afford to make their voices heard, if money equals free speech? American families can’t compete with billionaires.”

Reid declared that the constitutional amendment “is about restoring freedom of speech to all Americans.”

“The Supreme Court has effectively said, the more money you have the more speech you get, and the more influence in our democracy. That is wrong. Our involvement in government should not be dependent on our bank account balances,” he said.

“The American people reject the notion that money gives the Koch brothers, corporations or special interest groups a greater voice in government than American voters. They believe, as I do, that elections in our country should be decided by voters – those Americans who have a constitutional, fundamental right to elect their representatives. The Constitution doesn’t give corporations a vote, and it doesn’t give dollar bills a vote.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
I see no problem with the First Amendment as currently constituted, but i see BIG problems with allowing Congress to determine who may engage in political speech, and who may not.

The fact that the biggest crook in the Senate is upset over the Supreme Court ruling is the best evidence that it is indeed proper.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (4)
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Because shut up, the senile old bastard said.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
“The American people reject the notion that money gives Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, unions or leftist astroturf groups a greater voice in government than American voters."

FTFY, Harry.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see no problem with the First Amendment as currently constituted, but i see BIG problems with allowing Congress to determine who may engage in political speech, and who may not.

The fact that the biggest crook in the Senate is upset over the Supreme Court ruling is the best evidence that it is indeed proper.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Reid complained that “outside groups” are fighting HIM." He has been an insider for decades and it must be hard for him to see anyone that pushes back against HIS government.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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