State Rep. Kent Smith (D- Euclid) and State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) Tuesday provided sponsor testimony on House Resolution (HR) 74 to the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee. This resolution calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would eliminate corporate personhood, money as speech and limit money in politics.

“In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturned decades of campaign finance law and gave corporations, billionaires and super PACs new privileges to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote or defeat political candidates,” said Rep. Smith. “This is the money that decides who runs, who wins and who governs.”

A 2014 Brennan Center for Justice analysis on the impact Citizens United had on campaign spending found that nearly 60 percent of the $1 billion spent by super PACs from 2010-2014 came from just 195 individuals.

“In the United States, we still live in a democracy. It is time that our society truly reflects the will of the people,” said Rep. Antonio. “It is time to give our government back to the people—not corporations.”

Recent studies indicate some 83 percent of voting-age Americans favor overturning the Citizens United decision and placing limits on corporate spending in U.S. elections. In addition, more than 66 percent of small business owners surveyed believe that Citizens United makes it harder for their businesses to compete against large corporations.

“The current rules of the game are tilted towards corporate interests and their political goals. Corporations do not need healthy food, clean water and sufficient housing to survive,” added Smith. “HR 74 seeks to remove the concentrated, corrupting influence of money out of our elections and secure our collective right of equal representation and human liberty, which makes effective, honest government possible.”

A dozen witnesses provided testimony in support of the measure, including a number of members of Move to Amend, a citizen-led grassroots organization dedicated to removing undue monetary influence from the political process.

The next hearing on HR 74 has yet to be announced.

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