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letters | debating citizens united

Question put to voters on Citizens United

Kudos for running the excellent op-ed by former Republican Representative Jim Leach (“Democracy for sale,” Oct. 14). Leach writes, “Under a free speech guise, the Supreme Court has authorized masked men to use unlimited resources to rob America of its democratic idealism,” with its discredited ruling Citizens United v. FEC. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, Citizens United has allowed so much special-interest money to flood our elections that already these interests have spent double what they did in 2008. All told, outside groups will spend approximately $1 billion, and that’s not counting the money donated directly to candidates.

Common Cause and our allies are doing something about it. We have placed a nonbinding question on the ballots of half of the communities of Massachusetts asking voters whether they would support a federal constitutional amendment that would reverse Citizens United and similar decisions. The amendment contemplated by the question would affirm that 1) corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as human beings and 2) that Congress and the states may limit political contributions and expenditures.

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As Leach points out, the Constitution begins “We the people,” not “We the corporations.”

Pam Wilmot

Executive director

Common Cause

Massachusetts

Boston

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