-By Paul Blumenthal
July 11, 2013- WASHINGTON — Pushback against the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision keeps growing in the states. Over the first six months of this year, even as campaign finance reforms go nowhere in Congress, five more states have backed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 ruling. That brings the total number of states supporting an amendment to 16.
"Amending the Constitution is hard — and it should be," said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who has himself sponsored a proposal to constitutionally overturn Citizens United and other campaign finance-related court decisions. "But it is not impossible, especially with the growing momentum we are seeing. Sixteen states, including my home state of New Mexico, have called on Congress to overturn Citizens United and send them an amendment for ratification. That’s more than 30 percent of the U.S."
Fighting back against the flood of electoral spending released by the Citizens United decision, lawmakers and policymakers have also worked to change state-level campaign finance laws. They have expanded disclosure requirements to reveal "dark money" and, much to the dismay of reform advocates, increased the sums that political candidates can raise for their own campaigns. At least seven states have made changes so far this year.
These efforts are driven by both public opinion — 62 percent of Americans oppose the Citizens United ruling — and the increasing pressures faced by candidates as they see independent spending flooding into their elections.
The majority of the organizing following the 2010 decision — which opened the door for unlimited independent political spending by corporations, unions and, following a subsequent decision, individuals — has gone into the difficult task of overturning Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. This year, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Oregon and West Virginia have sent resolutions to Congress calling for an amendment, making the total 16 states and hundreds more cities and towns in support.