Tester draws connection between big money in politics and voter suppression
Senator delivers campaign finance address at Harvard Law School
(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) – With Harvard Law School as his backdrop, Senator Jon Tester today warned the country that without campaign finance reform, America’s entire election system is at risk.
“If big money can’t get you to vote how they want you to, they’ll do everything they can to keep you from voting. With this Supreme Court at their side, they are shaping the electorate to their whim. Out goes ‘one person, one vote’ and in comes more backroom deals and cigar smoke. Our election system is becoming one big arms race. From your TV screen to your local precinct, corporations and big money are determined to influence who votes and how they vote,” Tester said.
Tester in 2013 introduced a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and is a co-sponsor of another amendment to ensure that the federal government can regulate spending in federal elections and the states may regulate spending in state elections. In his address, Tester called on Congress to join him in pushing back against outside interests.
“If we don’t move quickly and forcefully to get big money out of our elections, it will give the wealthy a vice grip on our government. It will drown out the voices of regular folks. And it will embolden those with the deepest pockets to take further action to keep shaping the electorate how they see fit. We need action, and we need it now,” Tester said.
Speaking at the Advancing New Jurisprudence for American Self-Government and Democracy symposium Tester told his personal story of campaigning in a pre and post-Citizens United era.
“The current system forces candidates to make decisions about how they spend their time. It pulls them away from the jobs they were elected to do. And it forces them to choose between raising money to make sure voters hear their message or laying down and letting the opposition walk all over them. It’s an arms race that all sides must play. And by far, the biggest loser is the American people,” Tester said.
The event was co-sponsored by Harvard Law School and Free Speech for People. A copy of his speech is available online HERE.