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Jayapal Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) is introducing an amendment to the Constitution that would end corporate personhood, reverse Citizens United, put power back into the hands of people, and make it clear that money does not equal speech. 

The We the People Amendment specifies that the rights provided by the Constitution are for people — not corporations — and that artificial entities have no Constitutional rights. The amendment also works to get big money out of politics after the most expensive campaign in American history. Additionally, the joint resolution mandates that Federal, state, and local governments require that all political contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

“Corporations are not people and money is not speech,” said Congresswoman 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.”

“We applaud Rep. Pramila Jayapal for her leadership in sponsoring HJR48, the We the People Amendment. Rep Jayapal clearly understands that the changes she and many of her colleagues support to advance health care, expand economic justice, ensure a livable world, and promote real democracy are incredibly difficult but necessary. This is especially true given the unjustifiable Supreme Court decisions declaring corporations as entities with many of the same constitutional rights as human persons and that money spent in elections is equivalent to First Amendment-protected free speech,” said Dolores Guernica, Legislative Co-Director with Move to Amend. “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.”

The We the People Amendment ends corporate constitutional rights after the Supreme Court’s flawed ruling in Citizens United. This decision established political spending as protected speech, further prevented limits on campaign spending, and allowed outside groups to accept unlimited political donations. In the election cycle immediately following this 2010 decision, independent spending increased by more than 600% compared to the previous election cycle. This created an enormous imbalance in power in which the average American’s ability to influence elected officials is dwarfed by large corporations. The ruling also enabled corporate personhood, granting the freedom of expression to corporations.

As political spending by large corporations continues to skyrocket, the 2022 Congressional Election became the most expensive in American history, with more than $8.9 billion being funneled into districts across the country. In 2020, spending for the presidential, House, and Senate races spiked to over $14 billion, more than doubling the cost of the record-breaking 2016 election cycle.

There is extensive support for reining in campaign spending. More than 75 percent of Americans say there should be limits on campaign spending by big donors.

The We the People Amendment is co-sponsored by Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Cori Bush (MO-01), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Suzan Delbene (WA-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Henry C. (“Hank”) Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), William Keating (MA-09), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Scott Peters (CA-50), Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), and Nikema Williams (GA-05).

The full resolution can be found here.