Senate vote expected today on amendment to limit campaign spending

<span>SALT LAKE CITY – Senator Orrin Hatch is opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress and states control of political campaign spending limits, but unlike most of his Senate colleagues, Hatch is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – and in a position to vote on the matter this week. </span><a href=”” target=”parent”>Senate Joint Resolution 19</a><span> is expected to come before the committee on Thursday.</span>

<span>Jonah Minkoff-Zern, campaign co-director with Public Citizen, says the amendment would help reverse the effect big money has had on elections following multiple U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have increased campaign spending limits.</span>

<span>”Across political lines, people are saying they want a constitutional amendment, they want big money out of our political system,” says Minkoff-Zern. “They see they’re no longer in control of the people who are supposed to represent them.”</span>

<span>Minkoff-Zern says Supreme Court rulings – in Buckley versus Valeo in the 1970s and the more recent Citizens United and McCutcheon cases – have determined spending money on elections is a form of speech or opinion, thereby making campaign contributions, not simply campaign messages, a First Amendment issue.</span>

<span>A Senate subcommittee approved Senate Joint Resolution 19 last month, and passage Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee will likely lead to a full Senate vote later this summer.</span>

<span>Minkoff-Zern says Utahns can help by asking the state’s congressional delegation to support the constitutional amendment.</span>

<span>”The senators of Utah need to know their constituents want them to take a stand and support a constitutional amendment,” he says. “We’re sick and tired of our country being bought and sold. We want our democracy back for the people.”</span>

<span>Passage of a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in Congress, and support from three-quarters, or 38, of the states.</span>

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