Merkley Statement on Second Anniversary of Citizens United

Portland, OR- Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today issued a statement on the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision allowing unlimited secret donations by corporations in elections.

“Our nation is unique in world history in that it was founded on the simple idea that the people are in charge. However, our legacy of democracy is threatened by this Supreme Court decision that allows corporations unlimited secret spending to influence elections. 

“As we’ve seen dramatically in the Republican presidential primaries, the massive amount of money flowing into our elections by super PACs is swamping the airwaves and altering outcomes.  Every person should have a right to their say – that’s the beauty of the First Amendment.  But corporations are not people, they are legal entities created by our laws to foster commerce. 

“When corporate officers spend stockholders’ assets on the officers’ political opinion, it perverts free speech. It takes the assets of many to fund the opinions of the few.

“It was President Lincoln who described the genius of American democracy as ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’. Citizens United is the opposite:  it is government by and for the powerful. It is a stadium sound system drowning out the voice of the people. It is, indeed, a dagger pointed at the heart of American democracy.”