Three years after the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, the case that loosened restrictions on independent political expenditures by corporations and unions, U.S. Sen. Al Franken is still pressing to “reverse” it.
Citizens United has been the bete noire of the political left since the Court decided it in January 2010, inaugurating a new world of political non-profits and Super PACs that add putatively uncoordinated advertising heft to political campaigns.
Franken, facing reelection in Minnesota in 2014, is teaming up on the anti-Citizens United effort with fellow Senate Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Mark Begich of Alaska, Tom Udall of New Mexico and John Tester and Max Baucus of Montana.
Since the Supreme Court has already spoken in a 5-4 decision, their mission must now be to enact legislative reforms that eventually pass muster with the high court.
“Make no mistake: Progressives can still win big fights, even three years after Citizens United,” Franken tells supporters in an email blast inviting them to click on an online petition. “But the longer we let this decision stand, the harder it’s going to be.”
Republicans, who control the House, see Citizens United as a victory for corporate free speech, and free speech in general. They’re unlikely to pass anything that could get through the Senate, even in the remote chance Senate Republicans didn’t filibuster.
But for now, it’s a good Democratic rallying cry, and a way to mobilize the base.
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