Petitioners take campaign against Citizens United to Congress

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Justice Anthony Kennedy. - Photo: U.S. Supreme Court

Representatives from 50 organizations jointly signed letters to U.S. House and Senate leadership calling for hearings on a possible constitutional amendment to void Citizens United.

Citizens United v. FEC is the U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing that corporations have the free speech rights of people and allowing businesses to invest unrestrained in political campaigns.

Earlier this year, a coalition of progressive groups staged more than 350 demonstrations in 49 states to protest the 2010 decision and call for a constitutional remedy.

Now the campaign has moved to Congress.

“In Citizens United, the Court ruled that corporations are guaranteed the same free speech rights as real people to influence elections, thereby ruling that governmental restrictions on corporate spending to influence elections are invalid and unconstitutional,” the coalition letters read.

While federal legislation may mitigate some of the damage of this decision, the letters state, “Only amending the Constitution can fully secure the American people’s authority to regulate corporate influence in our elections and restore our democracy.”

To date, 13 proposals to amend the U.S. Constitution have been introduced in the 112th Congress.

The coalition states, “Americans have become increasingly distressed at the toxic effects of unrestrained corporate and special interest money that is influencing our political system. …It is time for Congress to explore in earnest the range of resolutions that have been introduced to undo the harmful effects of the Court’s decision.”

The list of groups that endorsed the letter follows:, A New Way Forward, African American Ministers in Action, Alliance for Democracy
Americans for Democratic Action, Backbone Campaign, Campaign for America's Future,
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Environmental Health, CivicSponsor, Codepink, Coffee Party, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Consumer Action
Consumer, Watchdog,, Earthworks, East Bay Citizens for Action,
Ethical Markets, Food Empowerment Project, Free Speech for People, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Indiana Alliance for Democracy, 
Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Project,
International Forum on Globalization,
Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution,
Main Street Alliance,
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns,
Move to Amend, MoveOn, National Education Association,
Oil Change International , People For the American Way, Pesticide Action Network North America,
Public Campaign,
Public Citizen,
Rebuild the Dream,
Roots Action,
Story of Stuff, Sum of Us, The Other 98%,
United Republic,
We the People Campaign,
Where's Our Money, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign , Wolf PAC and
Working Families Win.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the Citizens United opinion.

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