Oregon joined 15 other states earlier this week in an official call for Congress to put forth a resolution overturning the Supreme Court's landmark 2010 Citizens United ruling, which opened the floodgates for vast sums of money to flow into elections.
With the state Senate's passage of House Joint Memorial 6, Oregon legislators pushed back against the Supreme Court's ruling that corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships, unions and other entities are granted the same free speech rights as individuals, which they are now allowed to express by funneling unlimited amounts of cash into super PACs.
According to the resolution, Congress must propose a constitutional amendment “clarifying the distinction between the rights of natural persons and the rights of corporations” and recognizing “that Congress and state legislatures may regulate all moneys raised and spent for political purposes.”
Oregon joins four other states – Delaware, Maine, West Virginia and Illinois – that have called for a constitutional amendment over just the past two months. All of the resolutions this year have passed with bipartisan support in at least one chamber. This is an issue that affects every American, regardless of political affiliation.
The other states that have called for an amendment to overturn Citizens United are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado and Montana. The Washington, D.C., Council has called for an amendment as well.
The anti-Citizens United movement also has momentum at the federal level. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) last month each proposed constitutional amendments aimed at reforming the campaign finance system with the expanded powers of Citizens United in mind. Earlier this year, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) introduced a constitutional amendment more directly aimed at overturning the court's ruling. Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley (D) and Ron Wyden (D) have signed on as co-sponsors to similar efforts, along with a number of congressional Democrats from Oregon.