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Chris MacKenzie,
U.S. PIRG

CALIFORNIANS WILL VOTE ON WHETHER TO OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED

For Immediate Release

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The California Supreme Court issued a ruling today to restore Proposition 49 to the ballot. Californians will have the chance to instruct Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would limit campaign spending and establish that only human beings (and not corporations) enjoy constitutional rights.

"I commend the CA Supreme Court for upholding the law I authored giving voters a say on whether to overturn the disastrous Citizens United case. This is a significant first step to taking back our democracy." Said Congressman Ted Lieu. 

“The Court’s decision is clear. Proposition 49 was always legitimate,” said Michele Sutter, co-­founder of MOVI (Money Out Voters In) the Overturn Citizens United Act’s sponsor in the California Legislature. “MOVI applauds the Court for their further consideration and affirmation that California voters do have the ‘right to instruct their representatives’ to act to end the corruption of our government by corporate monopoly interests and billionaires.” 

“Money is not speech, and corporations are not people. Full stop. This is obvious to anyone not on the payroll of an enormous corporate outfit,” explained Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the California-­based Courage Campaign. “With our democracy drowning in the billions of dollars from mega-­corporations, it’s clear that it will take an extraordinary citizens movement to amend the Constitution and put an end to the madness brought on by Citizens United. And with Prop 49 back on the California ballot, Californians are ready to help lead that movement and formally weigh in on the most vital political issue of our time.” 

“Californians will now have a chance to remind members of Congress who they work for by instructing them to get big money out politics and to start listening to ordinary voters.” Said Derek Cressman, the Campaign Manager of Yes on Prop 49 Committee and Author of When Money Talks: The High Price of “Free” Speech and the Selling of Democracy. 

“This decision allows California’s voters to tell the legislature and Congress that we need to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy from wealthy and corporate interests.” Said Ron Fein, The Legal Director for Free Speech For People and co-­author of an amicus curiae brief filed in the CA Supreme Court case, Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association v. Padilla.

 “Californians of all stripes can agree that megadonors and corporations have too much say over who can run for and win elected office in this country,” said Emily Rusch, Executive Director of CALPIRG. “Thanks to today’s ruling, California voters will get a formal opportunity to send Congress an unequivocal message to get big money out of politics.” 

“Today, the California Supreme Court stood with We The People, upholding our state's long tradition of giving people the power to instruct our congressional members to act to rein in the influence of money in politics.” Kathay Feng, Common Cause CA 

"Billionaires should not have thousands of times more free speech than the average American just because they have so much more money to spend on elections," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign. "That's why it's so important that the California Supreme Court has ruled that Californians have the right to instruct our representatives to overturn Citizens United.” 

Sixteen states and more than 650 cities and towns across the country have called on their representatives to support this amendment. In 2012, 75 percent of the voters in Montana and Colorado passed ballot initiatives calling for an amendment. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-­Vt.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-­S.C.,) who suspended his campaign for President on December 21st, have each called for an amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision.

To arrange interviews, please contact Edward Erikson at Edward.Erikson@gmail.com or call 202-­420-­9947

Money Out Voters In is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to putting the American people in charge of our own government. http://www.moneyoutvotersin.org/ Free 

Speech For People is a national non-­partisan campaign pressing for a Constitutional amendment to reclaim our democracy. Learn more at: http://freespeechforpeople.org/ Courage 

Campaign fights for a more progressive California and country. It is powered by more than 900,000 online member activists. Learn more at: https://www.couragecampaign.org/ Common 

Cause California is a non-­profit, non-­partisan, grassroots advocacy organization that works to strengthen public participation and ensure that public officials and public institutions are accountable and responsive to citizens. http://www.commoncause.org/states/california/ 

California Clean Money Campaign is a non-­profit, non-­partisan, organization dedicated to achieving an open and accountable government that is responsive to the needs of all Californians. http://www.caclean.org/ The 

California Public Interest Research Group, CALPIRG, is a statewide consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. http://www.calpirg.org/ 

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