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Congressman Jerry McNerney

Representing the 9th District of California

Rep. McNerney Calls for Fixes to our Broken Campaign Finance System on Sixth Anniversary of Citizens United

Jan 21, 2016
Press Release
Advocates for a constitutional amendment to restore voters’ voice and change campaign finance rules

Washington – On the sixth anniversary of the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) is calling for long-overdue fixes to our broken campaign finance system. Rep. McNerney is advocating for H.J.Res.31, a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions to individuals and prevent heavily-financed special interests from influencing our elections.

“Citizens United made an already broken campaign finance system much worse. Over the past six years we’ve seen its damaging effects, with excessive amounts of dark money from hidden donors, corporations, and special interests flowing into electoral campaigns while crushing the voice of individual voters,” said Rep. McNerney. “This corrosive influence drives much of the partisan gridlock in Washington and many state capitals, making it exceedingly difficult to tackle some of our country’s most complex and pressing issues. This is why I’m advocating for significant changes that will overhaul our broken campaign finance system to remove the destructive influence of unlimited dark money contributions, and restore the health of our democracy.”

In Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same free speech rights as people, allowing highly-financed special interest to use their money to fund campaigns for public elective office and ballot initiatives. 

Since the Citizens United decision, a majority of campaign spending now comes from undisclosed and unregulated sources. A report from Center for Responsive Politics (CFRP) illustrates that while federal elections are becoming more expensive, fewer people are making contributions.

In 2012, CFRP also found that spending from outside entities required to disclose contributions (that is, not candidates or parties) totaled over $1 billion. That pales in comparison to the amount of so-called “dark money” from SuperPACs and groups that aren’t required to disclose their donors, estimated at over $300 billion.

Rep. McNerney’s legislation specifies individual citizens or public election financing or voter education systems as the only sources of funding to directly or indirectly support or oppose campaigns for election to public office or state ballot measures.

A majority of Americans say fundamental changes need to be made to our campaign finance system.

A 2015 NY Times/CBS poll found that 84 percent of Americans say money has too much influence in politics, and 85 percent of those surveyed said the campaign-finance system should be either completely rebuilt or fundamentally changed.

Congressman McNerney has repeatedly advocated for campaign finance reform to remove the influence of money in our elections and restore the voice of the voters.

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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.