Push-back on Citizens United

First the Chico City Council, then the California Legislature

The Chico City Council took a lot of flak last April when it passed a resolution calling on Congress to initiate a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, known as Citizens United, that allows super-PACs to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from millionaires and corporations and spend them to influence the political process.

We continue to see what that execrable decision has wrought. The far-right billionaire oil magnates, David and Charles Koch, have said they will donate as much as $400 million to pro-Romney super-PACs, more than John McCain spent on his entire campaign in 2008, and gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson has pledged up to $100 million to Romney as well.

It’s not hard to see why these rich men favor Romney: A multimillionaire himself, he’s pledged to keep the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy and to loosen the mild regulations Congress put in place following the collapse of Wall Street in 2008 and ’09.

As a result of Citizens United, the online news source Politico has estimated that the anti-Obama forces (including the Romney campaign) will outspend President Obama and pro-Obama groups by 2 to 1 before the Nov. 6 election. Obama has his own rich backers, but nowhere near as many as Romney does.

There’s a growing upswell of grassroots opposition to Citizens United. Earlier this month, the California Legislature passed a resolution similar to Chico’s, becoming the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United and restoring democracy to the people. And in Montana—whose century-old law banning corporate money in elections was recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court—a statewide initiative calling for an amendment will be on the November ballot.

It’s because of actions like these that the movement to overturn Citizens United continues to gather force.