As she begins to frame out the themes of her 2016 presidential run, Hillary Clinton says she will make reform of the nation’s “dysfunctional” campaign finance system a focus of her campaign.
She is right to do so.
And she is getting close to addressing the issue in the right way.
“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all—even if it takes a constitutional amendment,” the former secretary of state told students at Kirkwood Community College in rural Monticello, Iowa.
Like most prominent Democrats, Clinton is too cautious on this issue.
There is simply no question that an amendment will be needed. Americans recognize this. More than 600 communities across the country and 16 states have formally requested that Congress back an amendment to undo the decisions of the Supreme Court to remove barriers to corporate spending and billionaire domination of the political process.
Those decisions, in cases such as Citizens United-v-Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon-v-Federal Election Commission, have left no doubt that an activist majority will continue to do the bidding of corporate special interests and wealthy elites that seek to buy elections—and the policies that extend from those elections. One of Clinton’s prospective rivals in the race for the presidency, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, got it exactly right when he said, “There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by a constitutional amendment.”
Sanders introduced such an amendment in 2011, along with Florida Congressman Ted Deutch. The Sanders-Deutch “Saving American Democracy Amendment” was written to:
* Make it clear that corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people and that corporations may be regulated by Congress and state legislatures
* Preserve the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press