January 21, 2011 marks the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that expanded corporate power over our elections and our policies by asserting federal laws cannot limit corporate "speech." The capacity of the richest Wall Street firms in America to almost dictate election results by spending overwhelming sums to distort public opinion and then distort public policy is a real threat to the American dream and ideal of democracy.
The Center for Media and Democracy is in Washington D.C., standing in solidarity with citizens and public interest allies from across the country, to oppose the Supreme Court's disastrous decision at the For the People Summit. Through its work with Move to Amend, the Center has been involved with the effort to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision through a Constitutional amendment establishing that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. Today, the Center for Media and Democracy, along with Public Citizen, People for the American Way, Free Speech for People and other organizations, will present over 750,000 petitions to Congress calling for a constitutional amendment that is truly for the people.
Americans are ready for a constitutional amendment clarifying that corporations do not have the same rights as people. A new public opinion survey by Hart Research Associates on behalf of Free Speech for People has confirmed previous polls finding that 79 percent of Americans sharply disapprove of the Citizens United decision and support a constitutional amendment to reverse the Court’s ruling.
The 2010 midterm elections demonstrate the need for an amendment. The outside special interest groups empowered by the Citizens United decision, like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, spent $294.2 million, or four times as much in the 2010 elections than in the last midterm elections. Groups that did not provide any information about the sources of their funds or the identities of their donors collectively spent nearly half of that amount ($135.6 million, or 46.1%). During the election cycle, the Center for Media and Democracy reported on the outrageous spin and misinformation being these secretive groups put forth, and exposed the shady figures behind them.
The Center for Media and Democracy will continue its efforts to preserve democracy by putting Americans before corporations, and welcome your support for these efforts.
For local events commemorating the first anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, see the list of activities posted on the Move to Amend events page and calendar, or and search for events on the Movement for the People website. For more about Citizens United and corporate rights, visit our corporate rights portal.