On 9th anniversary of Citizens United, critics call for change

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – This week marks the ninth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Critics say the case has led to an explosion of so-called dark money in politics.

The justices ruled that corporations have many of the same rights as people, so their political donations should be considered free speech and therefore, don’t have to be disclosed. But a constitutional amendment to void the decision is expected to be reintroduced in Congress.

Kaitlyn Sopoci-Belknap, national director of the Move to Amend coalition, said the amendment has bipartisan support across the nation.

Missouri is not among the 19 states to pass resolutions supporting the “We the People” amendment. But Missouri voters chose to increase transparency in politics last November when they passed Amendment One. The ballot measure changed the redistricting process, but also lowered campaign contribution limits for state races, and made it more difficult for donors to use multiple political action committees to funnel money to a candidate.

The We The People amendment will likely be reintroduced in the Senate next month. Senate Democrats have also introduced HR 1, which would add more disclosure requirements. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blasted the measure, saying it’s designed to get more Democrats elected.

Sopoci-Belknap said she blames both sides for the inaction.

Meanwhile, money from unnamed donors keeps coming in. According to the watchdog group ProPublica, independent groups spent about $142,000 on state races in Missouri and more than $73 million on the U.S. Senate race in which Republican Josh Hawley unseated Democrat Claire McCaskill.