Recent Constitution Day
prompts amendment idea
On Sept. 17, we marked Constitution Day, which recognizes when our 13 states adopted their newly authored U.S. Constitution in 1787. Article V lays out the process for amendments, strengthening the Constitution by making it flexible enough to serve America’s people over the past 234 years of change.
Many of these amendments were enacted in response to U.S. Supreme Court cases that blocked progress toward important individual rights. It’s hard to imagine that our founders would agree with the court's Citizens United ruling in 2010 giving First Amendment protection to political donations by corporations.
The founders shrugged off the power of wealthy royalty and replaced it with a democratic republic. Yet since Citizens United, the amount of corporate and big-donor money in national, state and even local elections has grown to levels that distort both elections and the legislative process. According to the nonpartisan organization American Promise, incumbents spend five to 10 times as much money on campaigns as their challengers. From 1999 to 2018, Big Pharma and the health product industry spent billions in legislative lobbying and political contributions.
As the power of wealthy donors to influence elections and lawmaking grows, the power of individual Americans to affect our government diminishes. We must enact a new constitutional amendment to restore the rights of federal and state governments to limit money in politics. Virginians should tell our lawmakers to support the next step in American freedom: an amendment to limit the undue influence of money in politics.