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Citizens United, Supreme Court Targeted In Campaign By 'Outraged' Progressive Group

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WASHINGTON -- The progressive grassroots organization Democracy for America launched a new campaign to push back against the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The group wants to create solidarity around Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock's fight against the ruling by getting state attorneys general to sign onto Bullock's forthcoming amicus brief to the court.

The group's membership is "outraged" over the Citizens United decision and wants to reverse the Supreme Court's ruling, according to Dean. The decision allowed corporations and unions to spend freely in elections, as long as their efforts remained independent of political parties and candidates.

"We've got the war on women going on here, the voter suppression, and labor issues going on, but you go to our members and do polling or have conversations and this one is constantly coming up," Dean said.

The campaign has included support efforts to adopt a constitutional amendment getting money out of politics; pushing ballot initiatives that would change and redefine campaign finance laws; and campaigning to get state attorneys general to sign Bullock's amicus brief challenging the application of the Citizens United ruling in Montana.

"Every place we can be to make it as difficult and as painful for big money to be in politics in the wake of Citizens United is something we need to be involved in," Dean explained.

Bullock's fight against the court came after the Montana State Supreme Court thumbed its nose at the Citizens United decision by ruling to uphold the state's century-old ban on corporate spending in elections.

The Montana court refused to follow the Supreme Court's ruling, citing specific historic evidence of corruption caused by corporate spending in the state's elections.

"Our legislature, our judges, down to the local county assessors, were almost bought and paid for. Mark Twain even said that, you know, the amount of money coming in in Montana makes the smell of corruption almost sweet," Bullock said at the time.

The U.S. Supreme Court has since issued a stay against the Montana ruling, stating that lower courts are bound to follow the Supreme Court's rulings, but will likely hear the full case from Bullock in a re-airing of the facts around the Citizens United case two years after the ruling.

This would no doubt feature a discussion on the impact super PACs and undisclosed corporate contributions to political non-profits have had on the 2010 and 2012 elections, along with past corporate corruption in Montana.

Democracy for America's goal is to get enough attorneys general to sign onto Bullock's brief to show the court widespread public support. The campaign by the grassroots group is also about listening to their members who want to oppose the Citizens United decision in whatever way possible.

"Ultimately, our job is to help the folks that are really trying to make this happen," Dean said. "It's going to happen because people in this country are really doing something about this in their communities."

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