Citizens United decision 
will not go unchallenged

Earlier this month, The Daily Sentinel outlined its opposition to Amendment 65, the proposed constitutional amendment on this year’s Colorado election ballot that aims to move toward overturning a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision on campaign finance known as Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

Last Sunday, we published a column by supporters of Amendment 65, arguing why they believe Coloradans should vote for it.

Both our editorial and the column by Amendment 65 supporters said the result of the Citizens United decision was bad public policy, because it allows so much additional money into political campaigns with so little accountability.

Whatever happens with Amendment 65 on Nov. 6, it is becoming evident that other avenues will be used to try to at least make some changes to the way we conduct elections.

In the column below, Bill Grant discusses a movement across the country that could be used in Colorado to establish indepenent, nonpartisan election commissions to oversee our elections rather than relying on elected secretaries of state and county clerks who are affiliated with a political party.

Equally important, according to a lengthy story in The New York Times Tuesday, a significant number of Republican members of Congress are considering possible legislation to rein in some of the worst problems associated with Citizens United.

That’s important, because Republicans have been seen by many as the greatest beneficiaries of the Supreme Court decision. However, as the Times article noted, many Republican lawmakers are finding themselves the targets of high-dollar attack ads from third-party groups who don’t disclose their donors.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., told the Times he is drafting legislation to “transform the system so people participating as candidates can be held responsible for what is said.”

Reforming campaign laws will no doubt take a back seat to financial issues when a new Congress is seated. But members of both parties should welcome the news that there appears to be bipartisan desire to make some changes to Citizens United.


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