Statewide Referendum Citizen’s United

2017 Assembly Joint Resolution 53

This resolution calls for a statewide advisory referendum to give voters the opportunity to voice their support for a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United. Since the 2010 ruling which has ushered in a new era of unlimited corporate spending on elections, 120 communities across the State of Wisconsin have joined 19 states and nearly 767 municipalities nationwide passing referendums or resolutions calling for action to overturn Citizens United.

Seven years after the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, outside spending on elections by special interests has reached an all-time high, while rulings by the Wisconsin Supreme Court have allowed the sources of much of this spending to go undisclosed, keeping Wisconsinites in the dark about who is trying to influence their votes. In Wisconsin's 2016 legislative races, $8.9 million was spent by outside interest groups. This surpassed the previous record for non-recall legislative elections set in 2008 at $7.1 million.

Assembly Joint Resolution 53 would place the following advisory referendum question on the November, 2018 ballot:

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and related cases allow unlimited spending to influence local, state, and federal elections. To allow all Americans to have an equal say in our democracy, shall Wisconsin’s congressional delegation support, and the Wisconsin legislature ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating: 

  1. Only human beings—not corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations, or similar associations—are endowed with constitutional rights, and
  2. Money is not speech, and therefore limiting political contributions and spending is not equivalent to restricting political speech.”


Click here to view the status of this legislation.