Overturn Citizens United Act moves to Governor Brown's desk

* SB 1272 would give California voters the opportunity to tell Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United

By Press Release
California Clean Money Campaign, July 3rd, 2014

from the California Clean Money Campaign

Contact: Trent Lange

SACRAMENTO - On the last day of the legislative session before the 4th of July, in an important achievement for the national movement to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, the California State Senate passed SB 1272, the Overturn Citizens United Act. SB 1272 would allow Californians to vote in November 2014 to demand a U.S. Constitutional amendment that says corporations aren't people, and money isn't speech. The Senate voted to concur with amendments in the Assembly on a vote of 24-11. On Monday, it passed the Assembly on a vote of 52-23.

"The message to Congress is this: We should not equate money with free speech and corporations are not people," said Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the author of SB 1272, concerning the cases Citizens United and McCutcheon. "Public support shows most residents believe it's outrageous that out-of-state interests can spend millions on efforts to influence Golden State policies."

SB 1272 is part of a growing nationwide movement to nullify the two Supreme Court decisions that reversed more than a hundred years of campaign finance laws, and allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts on campaigns. Citizens United is deeply unpopular with voters, with polls showing 80 percent of voters opposed. 16 states have already called on Congress to overturn the decision, as have roughly 500 municipalities from Los Angeles to Liberty, Maine.

"If our democratic system of representative government is to survive, these deeply damaging rulings must be overturned," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign. "Billionaires should not have thousands of times more free speech than the average American just because they have so much more money to spend on elections."

More than 50,000 people signed petitions -- including those hosted and shared on CREDO Mobilize, Democracy for America, MoveOn.org Petitions, Causes.com, and the California Clean Money Campaign website. Tens of thousands signed, emailed, tweeted, shared on Facebook and Twitter, and faxed. Thousands applied even more pressure by calling their legislators.

"The California legislature has responded to the people of California," said Michele Sutter, co-founder of Money Out Voters In, the sponsor of SB 1272. "We hope the Governor is listening and will allow us to voice our outrage over a growing list of perverse SCOTUS decisions at the ballot box in November. Our message to Governor Brown is 'sign SB 1272.'"

SB 1272 is authored by Senator Ted Lieu and sponsored by Money Out Voters In. The Act is supported by California groups such as the California Clean Money Campaign, California Common Cause, the California School Employees Association, and CALPIRG. National groups also weighed in, with organizations including Courage Campaign, CREDO, Causes.com, Democracy for America, MoveOn, Public Citizen, Represent.Us, and 99Rise getting involved.

"Californians deserve the opportunity to tell Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United and saying that money isn't speech," said Lange. "The California Senate and Assembly are to be congratulated for voting to provide that option on this November's ballot, thanks to Senator Lieu's leadership. Hopefully Governor Brown will act quickly to sign SB 1272 and give California voters the chance to speak this November."

For more information, here's a link to Senator Lieu's press release on the Senate victory.

Related Documents: Sen. Lieu's Fact Sheet on SB 1272


The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further information, visit www.CAclean.org

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)