One Year after Citizens United: Lessons from 2010 and Implications for 2012 (Public Forum / Panel Discussion)
Thursday, January 20, 2011, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Capitol Visitors Center, Congressional Meeting Room North (Room 268)
Amy Walter, Political Director, ABC News (moderator)
Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Michael Boos, Vice President and General Counsel, Citizens United
Cleta Mitchell, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP
Spencer Overton, Professor of Law, The George Washington University School of Law
A number of national and local groups will produce a series of events this week to mark the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which overturned limits on corporate influence in elections. In addition to a wide range of local events planned across the nation, a series of events will take place in Washington, DC to show the broad based support for action -- including amending the Constitution -- to restore democratic power to citizens, not corporations.
Groups participating in these events include Alliance for Democracy, American Independent Business Alliance, Backbone Campaign, Center for Media and Democracy, Changing the Game, Code Pink, Coffee Party USA, Common Cause, Democracy Matters, Democrats.com, Fix Congress First, Free Speech For People, MoveOn, Move to Amend, PeaceMajority Report, People for the American Way, Progressive Democrats of America, Public Citizen, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
"The greatest political reform of our time will be to abolish the legal concept of 'corporate personhood' and the inherently anti-democratic equation of money with political speech. I believe this monumental task will be achieved in the coming years built on a foundation of community-based battles to return power to the People."
-- Bill Moyer, founder and Executive Director of the Backbone Campaign
"A year ago, we warned that the Roberts Court was wrong to 'celebrate' expanding the power of corporations in our elections and policymaking. The unparalleled spending by Wall Street in this past election has proven the validity of our fears of the power of their money to spin the issues and distort our democracy and that's why nearly a million Americans have signed petitions against the Supreme Court's terrible decision and millions more will join us in this fight the coming years."
-- Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
"Free speech and other constitutional rights are for people, not corporations. The Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United will go down in history as contrary to the constitutional principles set forth by the Framers establishing a government of, for, and by the people. On this one-year anniversary of the ruling, we must renew our commitment to fighting for a 28th amendment to the Constitution that ensures that people, not corporations, govern in America."
-- John Bonifaz, co-founder and director of Free Speech For People
"Our members remain strongly opposed to the Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited corporate spending in politics. We saw firsthand how detrimental the Citizens United decision is to our democracy in the lead-up to November's elections, as shadowy front-groups, funded by Big Oil, financial institutions, pharmaceutical drug companies and other giant corporate interest, spent hundreds of millions of dollars to take over Congress for the Republicans. MoveOn remains committed to fighting the disastrous effects of Citizens United, and to keeping corporate money out of politics."
-- Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org.
"In the year since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United, we've seen an unprecedented wave of money wash over our elections. Broad majorities of Americans from across the ideological spectrum agree that we need to take decisive action to ensure that citizens, not corporations, are in charge of our democracy. Americans want a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and they want judges who understand that our Constitution was written to defend the rights of people, not corporate interests."
-- Michael B. Keegan, president of People For the American Way.
"The Citizens United decision, and the increased time candidates for Congress have to spend fundraising because of it, has placed our elections even more in the hands of an elite few than ever before. Congress must act to advance Fair Elections, stricter campaign finance disclosure laws, and other reforms to live up to the ideal of a government to that is of, by, and for the people."
-- Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign
"The outrageous, misguided and illogical Citizens United decision has empowered corporations and endangered our democracy. Secretive corporate and billionaire donors exerted an outsized influence over Election 2010. Their spending now casts a pall over all lawmaking, because any members of Congress who challenge corporate interests know they now risk facing a barrage of attack ads in the next election. And all parties agree that 2010 was just a warm-up for 2012. This is no way to run a democracy. That's why a growing movement is working for passage of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United."
-- Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.