as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 03/27/2019 01:33pm
memorializing Congress to overturn the United States Supreme Court decision Citizens
United v. FEC; requesting that Congress clarify that spending money to influence
elections is not speech under the First Amendment; asking that Congress propose a
constitutional amendment to provide such clarification.
WHEREAS, Supreme Court rulings on political spending in recent decades have undermined
the First Amendment, which was designed, even according to the Supreme Court in 1976, "to secure
the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources," and "to
assure the unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes
desired by the people." Supreme Court rulings that have equated money as speech have enabled
people, corporations, and other entities to spend virtually unlimited money in support of favored
candidates and interests, undermining the core First Amendment value of open and robust debate
in the political process and the opportunity for voters to hear speech from all candidates and all
WHEREAS, by treating money as speech, the courts have undercut the rights of citizens to
equal and meaningful participation in the democratic process; and
WHEREAS, this fosters corruption and undermines public confidence in the democratic
process and democratic institutions; and
WHEREAS, under Article V of the Constitution of the United States, the Congress, whenever
two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to the Constitution;
BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota that it requests that Congress
propose an amendment to the Constitution that shall substantially read as follows:
"(1) To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity
of government and the electoral process, Congress and the states shall regulate, limit, or prohibit
contributions and spending, including a candidate's own contributions and spending, to ensure that
all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no
person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way
the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure. Congress and the states may
distinguish contributions and spending by natural persons from contributions and spending by
corporations, unions, or other entities created by law, and may prohibit such entities from spending
money to influence elections.
(2) Congress and the states shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures
be publicly disclosed.
(3) Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the states the power to
abridge the freedom of the press."
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota is directed
to prepare copies of this resolution and transmit them to the Speaker and the Clerk of the United
States House of Representatives, the President and the Secretary of the United States Senate, the
United States Secretary of State, and Minnesota's Senators and Representatives in Congress.