Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down aggregate limits on campaign donations. The McCutcheon v. FEC decision will allow a federal politician to solicit – or a wealthy donor to give – a $3.6 million check to benefit a political party and federal candidates over a two-year election cycle.
Udall issued the following statement:
“Americans already believe the election system has been fundamentally corrupted by big money from corporate special interests. And today, the Court has confirmed their fears in its seriously misguided decision, which makes it legal for a few wealthy individuals to flood campaigns with cash, drowning out the voices of regular voters.
“The Court’s ruling returns the campaign finance system to Watergate-era rules – the same rules that fostered corruption, outraged voters and prompted campaign finance regulations in the first place. There has to be accountability. Campaigns should be about the best ideas, not the biggest checkbooks. It’s time to put elections back in the hands of American voters, and not with a tiny number of extremely wealthy people and special interests.
“McCutcheon should be the breaking point that forces Washington to permanently reform the campaign finance system. And today, I am again calling on the Senate to support my constitutional amendment, which would enable Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that withstands constitutional challenges and ensures all voters continue to have a voice in our democracy.”
An outspoken critic of Citizens United and a leader in the Senate fighting for campaign finance reform, Udall introduced S.J. Res. 19 last June to reverse the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, in which the Court held that restricting independent campaign expenditures violates the First Amendment right to free speech. Udall’s constitutional amendment would explicitly authorize Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns, including independent expenditures, and allow states to regulate such spending at their level.