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New Mexicans Urged To Support Udall Amendment to Limit Campaign Spending

PHOTO: Americans are being asked to show their independence today by attending public events being held in New Mexico and around the U.S. in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress control of campaign spending. Photo credit: Office of Senator Tom Udall.
PHOTO: Americans are being asked to show their independence today by attending public events being held in New Mexico and around the U.S. in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress control of campaign spending. Photo credit: Office of Senator Tom Udall.
July 3, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. - Americans are being asked to show their independence today by attending public events being held in New Mexico and around the U.S. in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to rein in and control campaign spending.

Stephen Spaulding is a policy counsel with Common Cause, one of several advocacy groups sponsoring the rallies in support of Senate Joint Resolution 19 (S.J. Res. 19), sponsored by U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico.

"Folks in New Mexico can make sure their voices are heard on this, and should take a moment to thank their senator, Tom Udall, for his leadership in working to get big money out of politics by sponsoring and authoring this constitutional amendment that will get billionaires and millionaires on the same equal footing as everybody else."

Senator Udall's spokesperson, Jennifer Talhelm, says the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Buckley v. Valeo in 1976 and the more recent Citizens United and McCutcheon cases have determined campaign spending is a form of speech or opinion - essentially making a person's campaign donations a First Amendment issue.

Spaulding says support for the constitutional amendment seems to be growing as more Americans understand how millionaires and billionaires can easily influence elections with their money.

"Five hundred cities and towns across the country have gone on record in supporting a constitutional amendment that would restore the ability of Congress and the states to set limits on big money in politics," says Spaulding.

A U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee voted in support of the amendment last month, and a full Senate Judiciary Committee vote is expected next week. Passage there would likely lead to a full Senate vote later this fall.

However, Spaulding warns that passage of a constitutional amendment is a long and difficult process which requires a two-thirds vote in Congress, and support from three-quarters, or 38, of the states.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM