In 2018, the 10 largest individual donors funneled more than $436 million to Super PACs in the most expensive midterm elections ever. Big money in politics has overwhelmed the political process, granting wealthy special interests more power now than at any time in recent American history. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC and other court decisions left Congress and the states constitutionally prohibited from putting limits on raising and spending money in elections, unleashing a flood of corporate dollars in U.S. elections and opening the door for the super-rich to fuel their own interests in our government at the expense of ordinary Americans. While this trend has been decades in the making, these decisions further dismantled our campaign finance laws.
This summer, I joined with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and other Senate Democrats to introduce the Democracy for All Amendment, a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other disastrous court decisions. The amendment would give Congress and the states the power “to regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections” as well to draw a distinction “between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law.”
When corporations and the super-rich have the ability to spend a limitless amount of money, they can not only influence elections but also set the political agenda. Take the Koch brothers as an example. Unlimited campaign contributions have allowed them to use millions of dollars to pervasively, perniciously and secretly influence the public policy. For instance, President Trump has staffed the White House and federal agencies with key officials tied to the Kochs who have systematically worked to discredit renewable energy, promote fossil fuels and deny climate science.
As a result of this type of spending, the American people are losing faith in our political system. Nearly eight in 10 voters said in a September 2018 poll that