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Senate Considers Resolution Dealing With Big Money in Politics

PHOTO: The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on a proposed constitutional amendment that would help take big money out of politics. Photo credit: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.
PHOTO: The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on a proposed constitutional amendment that would help take big money out of politics. Photo credit: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.
September 8, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Advocates for campaign finance reform say the U.S. Senate is expected to make an historic vote today on Senate Joint Resolution 19.

That's the proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress and the states control of political campaign spending limits.

Jonah Minkoff-Zern, campaign co-director at Public Citizen, says passage of the resolution is unlikely given that it needs two-thirds support, or 67 votes.

But he says the broad political support is an important symbolic victory in what will likely be a long-term political effort to get big money out of politics.

"So the fact that we now have 50 senators and likely by the time the vote happens, the majority of the Senate, supporting a constitution amendment to get big money out of politics, is an enormous victory for our movement,” he explains. “And a great opportunity for people all around the country to discuss and see the issue."

Minkoff-Zern says U.S. Supreme Court rulings have determined that spending money on elections is a form of speech or opinion, essentially making campaign contributions, not simply campaign messages, a First Amendment issue.

Minkoff-Zern says Nevadans can help the effort to get big money out of politics by putting pressure on Silver State U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, who opposes the amendment.

"Dean Heller unfortunately has taken an oppositional tone to getting big money out of politics and to supporting a constitutional amendment," Minkoff-Zern says. "He should be hearing from his constituents that that's a problem. I think that folks who are elected need to know that this is an issue that matters to us."

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



Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV