Before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony in favor of S. 772, A Resolution Restoring Free Speech. The resolution calls upon the United States Congress to pass, and send to the states for ratification, a constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment and fair elections to the people. The impetus for this resolution was a decision issued by the United States Supreme Court in January 2010 which basically allowed for unlimited, as well as untraceable, corporate money in our electoral campaigns.
Passage of this resolution is important for many reasons; for the sake of brevity we will limit this written testimony to three:
#1- Our democracy cannot function properly unless our elections are free and fair. The Citizens United decision ultimately allowed for elections to be bought and sold by the highest spender. The influence of money in politics that the Court’s decision enabled will corrupt our democracy soon enough unless we act to address it.
#2-Obviously, the problem of corporate money in politics is not a problem that can be solved by any one or two or even several states. Our country’s electoral system is now threatened, and we need to act as a country to salvage our democracy. Thus, this resolution calls for action by Congress, as we see the main remedy to the Citizen’s United decision coming in the form of a Constitutional amendment.
#3-While the remedy must be enacted by the country as a whole, it is in fact up to each state to take a role—in calling out the problem, in demonstrating leadership, and in campaigning for a solution.
The passage of this resolution accomplishes all three of those goals, and we hope that the Massachusetts Legislature will take this opportunity to be one of the first states in our country calling for this critical reform.
Thank you for your consideration.