(April 7, 2013) - The U.S. Supreme Court has made a series of decisions including Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, McComish v. Bennett, etc. that have affected the areas of campaigns and elections, issues in which the League of Women Voters has been active since its inception and that are primary concerns of the organization.
Unlimited expenditures from millionaires, corporations, unions, and trade associations overwhelm citizens’ voices, lead to corruption, and unfairly disrupt the representative process. Moreover, much of this spending occurs without disclosure of the sources of funding. This lack of transparency undermines the voters’ ability to make informed decisions and makes corruption even more likely.
The question is how best to address the issues that emanate from the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. These issues demand a multidimensional approach: federal legislation on disclosure, “independent” spending, coordination rules, real enforcement by the IRS of violations of the rules for non-profit organizations, reform of the Federal Election Commission, etc.
The League has received requests to support a constitutional amendment without fully specifying the content of the amendment. The League has long evaluated its advocacy work based on our positions, on the opportunity to best make a difference, and on the availability of necessary resources. The League has not yet found a proposed constitutional amendment that we can support within our positions. Because Money in Elections is a priority for the League, we will be continually re-evaluating the opportunity for legislation in this area.