Tester backs efforts to overturn Citizens United decision
Senator supports constitutional amendment to restore transparent democracy
(U.S. SENATE) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision is a threat to transparent democracy and should be overturned with a constitutional amendment in order to uphold Montana values, Senator Jon Tester said today.
Tester has always opposed the unpopular 2010 decision, which allows corporations to spend unlimited money on political campaigns with no transparency. That means even foreign corporations can “buy” American elections, Tester said.
“Montanans expect real people—not corporations—to decide our elections, and I’ll do whatever it takes to guarantee full transparency in the process,” Tester said. “The Citizens United decision undermines Montana values. Montanans rejected corporate control of elections a century ago and I’m eager to join them in standing up for our long-held values.”
Tester supports amending the Constitution to restore the right of Congress to limit corporate spending in federal elections and to guarantee the right of states to regulate their elections – ensuring transparency and accountability at both the federal and state levels.
Tester is backing two amendments aimed at restoring fair and transparent elections. One proposal was introduced by Senator Max Baucus. The other is by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
"Montanans deserve to be heard and we've got to fight to make sure we keep elections in the hands of the people," said Baucus, who introduced legislation to ensure transparency in campaign finance. “Montanans rightfully expect that they can elect a government that represents them – not big business or foreign corporations. Montana has a strong history of upholding some of the toughest campaign finance laws in the land, and we should see that that right is protected.”
Tester emphasized that the Supreme Court’s ruling “raised the stakes” and made it necessary to alter the Constitution so that elections are not dominated by secrecy and mistrust.
Montana’s efforts to stand up to corporate influence in elections date back to the early 1900s, when wealthy mining corporations used their money to buy election outcomes. In response, Montana voters in 1912 passed an initiative limiting corporate influence—a law upheld by Montana’s Supreme Court earlier this month.
To alter the U.S. Constitution, an amendment must pass both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives by two-thirds’ majority before being ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures.
Tester’s Constitutional amendments are available online. Baucus’ proposal is HERE, and Udall’s is HERE.