I strongly believe that until money is not equated as free speech, lower income citizens will never be adequately represented in the legislative process, but will instead be at the mercy and whims of much richer persons or organizations that will continue to lobby for greater political and entrench their positions. Having Congress reverse the Citizens United decision is a big step in that direction.
"A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold." - Supreme Court Justice Stevens in his Citizens United dissenting opinion.
Citizens United v. FEC was a landmark campaign finance and corporate law case dealing with regulation of political spending by organizations. In 2010, the Supreme Court decided that the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for communications by nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.
The decision was highly controversial when announced. Supporters argued that prohibiting people or groups from participating in campaign debate is a gross violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that the ruling opened the floodgates to an unprecedented amount of dark money. They point to the fact that the voices of citizens are already "being drowned out by corporate money" and that America's wealthy already has an outsize influence on our elections.
Lobbyists are simply professionals who get paid to influence Congress. They are effective because they know the policies, have built relationships on Capitol Hill, and work full time to make their case to elected officials. They are typically hired by corporations and special interest groups, but not anymore!
Hiring a professional to lobby Congress would be an important step forward. Corporations, super PACs, and political groups who benefit from Citizens United have hundreds of lobbyists employed, so adding another voice is important in the fight to overturn Citizens United.
A lobbyist working to overturn Citizens United would meet with relevant staffers, government officials, and key stakeholders and make their case for overturning Citizens United. They would also attend hearings, attend networking events, and meet with other stakeholders and advocacy groups to offer support.
For the same price as your morning latte, you can have the same access to lobbyists as big businesses and wealthy donors.
With an average donation of $27, Bernie Sanders was able to raise 234 million dollars! That would double what the Chamber of Commerce spends on lobbying.
The average crowdfunding contribution, according to Fundly.
Passionate for the cause? This is the maximum contribution amount allowed per campaign to protect each campaign from the influence of any one individual.