The Capitol Record

Sen. Adam Kline hopes to amend Citizens United decision

Senator Adam Kline at the press conference next to a stack of petitions.

Senator Adam Kline at the press conference next to a stack of petitions.

Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, is asking U.S. Congress to pass an amendment to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision.

He discussed his sponsorship of a Senate Joint Memorial at a press conference Thursday.

Under the 2010 Citizens United decision, corporations and unions were freed from restrictions on campaign funding, allowing them to donate unlimited amounts to so-called super PACs. The court ruled they were protected by the First Amendment. The Center for Public Integrity says the decision opened the door to nearly $1 billion in political spending during the 2012 election, much of that ultimately on ad campaigns.

Kline said separating money from politics is “good for the state government, good for the people” and “absolutely necessary.”

Also at the press conference were members of organizations that helped gather signatures in support of the amendment. Occupy Seattle’s “Get Money out of Politics” has collected 12,000 signatures in four months.

“We all share the same concern about how the voices of ordinary citizens can be heard when we don’t have a million dollars to spend on TV ads to air against politicians and ballot initiatives that threaten the profit margin for corporations,” said member Jonathan Tong.

Kline said that he will not be submitting the bill until he has asked all members of the Senate for support. Members, Kline urged, who need to hear from their constituents. “Nothing rings a legislator’s bells more than a contact, email, phone call that starts, ‘Senator, I live in your district and this is an issue I want you to pay attention to,” Kline said.

“We answer to the people, if we believe that people are against this issue, you can’t expect us reasonably to vote for it, we’re not going to lose our jobs over this unless you show us that people in our districts are in favor of it,” Kline said.

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