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Abe Scarr,
Illinois PIRG

Statement on today’s Senate vote on the constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

For Immediate Release

“Today’s vote was an incredible milestone in the fight to reclaim our democracy. The Citizens United decision unleashed a tide of big money from mega-donors and super PACs into our elections, which has threatened to drown out the voices of ordinary Americans. In the 2012 elections, just 32 super PAC donors spent as much as all 3.7 million small donors to Mitt Romney and President Obama combined, and year after year, we’ve seen campaign spending records shattered.

“But far from accepting this as a new status quo, Americans have been fighting back. In just a few short years, 16 states and more than 550 cities and localities across the country have enacted resolutions calling on Congress to pass an amendment to overturn Citizens United. Local leaders like Champaign Township Supervisor Andrew Quarnstrom and Springfield Alderman Joe McMenamin have also called for change. Today, a majority of the U.S. Senate answered that call.

“Amending the Constitution was never meant to be easy, but we know that the public overwhelmingly supports getting big money out of politics. Today’s vote is just the beginning, and marks a big step forward in the movement to reclaim our democracy.

“We also know there are things that should be done right now to amplify the voices of small donors, which would make sure out-of-district mega-donors aren’t the only way to finance campaigns. Congress and state and local governments should establish small donor empowerment programs right away.”

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