McConnell, Reid to Testify on Amendment to Limit Campaign Spending

Sunday, 01 Jun 2014 07:50 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week on a proposed constitutional amendment on campaign financing, Roll Call reported.

It is remarkable for the two men to appear at the same forum in an election year, according to Politico. Both accepted an invitation from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to speak about a Democratic-proposed constitutional amendment that would grant Congress and the states authority to set "reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money in political campaigns," according to Leahy.

The Democrats, led by New Mexico's Sen. Tom Udall, say recent Supreme Court decisions including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, have made their amendment necessary.

Reid said the court had "equated money with speech so the more money you have the more speech you get, and the more influence in our democracy."

McConnell termed the proposed amendment "the ultimate act of radicalism," according to Politico.

"This crass attempt by Democrats to shut down any opposition to their plans should be rejected swiftly and decisively by everyone in this country who prizes the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment," said McConnell.

Conservatives posit that the proposal is tantamount to a "repeal" of the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment, Politico reported.

The effort to amend the Constitution has no chance of achieving the support of the necessary two-thirds of Congress. Democrats are using the maneuver to make the political case that Republicans side with the wealthy, Politico reported.

McConnell has been in the vanguard of those arguing that campaign money has the same absolute constitutional protections as other manifestations of free speech. The recent Supreme Court decisions make clear that it is the "right of the individual, and not the prerogative of Congress, to determine how many candidates and parties to support," he said.


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