May 9, 2012 | After easily sailing through the California Assembly in March, a joint resolution asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Citizens United, authored in part by Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, is heading to the State Senate for approval.
The Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee approved the resolution Tuesday along party lines, 3-2. The controversial Supreme Court decision essentially viewed corporations as people and open the doors, critics say, to allowing huge amounts of campaign fundraising dollars to be funneled to candidates through Super PACs. The resolution was co-authored with Sonoma County Assemblyman Michael Allen.
“We should not be surprised, but we should be ashamed that our Supreme Court’s outrageous decision has tilted our political process far in favor of the richest Americans and largest corporations,” said Wieckowski. “Now, in the court of public opinion the American people are speaking out.”
Although the amount of large-scale fundraising from corporations has not filtered down to local races in the East Bay, its ability to tip local races is still on the radar.
Just last week, the Alameda City Council sharply criticized the Citizens United ruling as rendering a proposed campaign finance ordinance obsolete. The potential influence of outside groups willing to spend thousands on local races and measures easily dwarfed the proposed $500 maximum donation in Alameda. The ordinance, shelved in 2010 before Citizens United, would ironicially punish small local donors and greatly enhances the power of sometimes unknown political interests in a city currently without any restrictions on fundraising.