State Democrats Take Aim at 'Citizens United' Super PAC Ruling
Goal is to overturn Supreme Court ruling from two years ago
You can tell it’s not crunch time at the Capitol because some legislators are speaking out on issues well beyond their immediate purview.
On Day 16 of the session Democrats are taking aim at an historic change in U.S. election law.
They introduced resolutions – in effect, simply statements of opinion – calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The goal is to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling two years ago that corporations are people who are entitled to free speech through unlimited campaign contributions.
It will probably take years to accomplish this goal, requiring a national effort that has succeeded only once in the past 40 years, but the Democrats say it's that important.
They remain incensed about the decision in the Citizens United case – which eliminated Alaska’s ban on corporate contributions to campaigns, among other state laws across the country.
A constitutional amendment, the only remedy, would require a two-thirds vote of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states.
Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage) said there’s really no proper role for corporations in campaigns.
“What possible sort of stance could they take in an election except to influence and increase their own ability to make money?” said French. “That is not what the average citizen is worried about when it comes to paving their roads, educating their kids and making sure they have clean water when they turn on the tap.”
Some lawmakers support the Supreme Court decision.
One of those is House Judiciary Chairman Carl Gatto, R-Palmer, a former union member who said he’s glad that corporations are now enable to compete with unions as campaign donors of unlimited funds.
“Now we have the ability equal to unions,” said Gatto. “I’m not expecting corporations to spend so much money. They have to answer to their shareholders. They can’t just spend money.”
Governor Parnell, at his biweekly press availability, declined to offer a “knee-jerk” opinion on the issue.