ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
President Obama uses his weekly address to again blast the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, and join in the efforts by Hill Democrats to call for campaign finance reform legislation to prevent special interests from “gaining even more clout” in Washington.
“We know how important this is,” Obama says in his weekly address, “We’ve all seen groups with benign-seeming names sponsoring television commercials that make accusations and assertions designed to influence the public debate and sway voters’ minds. Now, of course every organization has every right in this country to make their voices heard. But the American people also have the right to know when some group like “Citizens for a Better Future” is actually funded entirely by “Corporations for Weaker Oversight.”
In January President Obama took the apparently unprecedented step of assailing the Supreme Court decision in his State of the Union speech saying “with all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that corrects some of these problems."
In his weekly address this week, the president briefly outlined what the proposed bill on the Hill this week– which lacks Republican sponsors– would aim to do.
“Shadowy campaign committees would have to reveal who’s funding their activities to the American people. And when corporations and other special interests take to the airwaves, whoever is running and funding the ad would have to appear in the advertisement and claim responsibility for it – like a company’s CEO or an organization’s biggest contributor. This will mean citizens can evaluate the claims in these ads with information about an organization’s real motives.”
In addition, Mr. Obama said, the bill would also address what he called, another “troubling aspect” of the Citizens United case.
“Under the bill Congress will consider, we’ll make sure that foreign corporations and foreign nationals are restricted from spending money to influence American elections, just as they were in the past – even through U.S. subsidiaries. And we’d keep large contractors that receive taxpayer funds from interfering in our elections as well, to avoid the appearance of corruption and the possible misuse of tax dollars. “
The president predicts that these proposed changes will be met with “heavy resistance” from special interests and some in Congress.
“But I’m calling on leaders in both parties to resist these pressures. For what we are facing is no less than a potential corporate takeover of our elections. And what is at stake is no less than the integrity of our democracy.”