House Democrats on Thursday introduced legislation aimed at curbing the effects of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC ruling that opened the door for limitless and anonymous campaign contributions.
The Restoring Confidence in Our Democracy Act – authored by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) – works to reestablish prohibitions on corporations and unions seeking to influence an election by filling the wallets of PACs and Super PACs.
Moreover, the measure would ensure that Super PACs be restricted to a $5,000 contribution limit, identical to those of regular PACs.
Dingell – flanked by co-sponsors Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) – expressed extreme distaste for a Citizens United ruling that has caused a sharp influx in campaign spending and has provided corporate donors with a blanket of anonymity.
“[Citizens United] facilitates the purchase, the sale or the theft of our government… from ordinary citizens by unknown persons who are sheltered behind the secrecy of the Supreme Court decision,” Dingell said.
As of late June, more than $500 million have been spent by both Democratic and Republican Pacs and Super PACs throughout the 2012 election cycle, according to the FEC. More than $1.6 billion were spent by both Democrats and Republicans during the 2008 election cycle.
The bill has won the support of 13 co-sponsors but is not likely to see any movement in the House before a November election. In the meantime, the Dean of the House said he plans to win over more of his colleagues from both chambers. In the Senate, New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall has led similar efforts to increase transparency in campaign finance but, he too has acknowledged that the time to pursue any type of reform would be after November and into the next Congress.