Democrats Call for Hearing on Proposed Citizens United Resolution

Resolution Would Allow Voters to Weigh in on Big Money in Politics

October 10, 2017

MADISON – Today, the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics held its first meeting of the 2017-18 legislative session. Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) requested that Committee Chairperson, Rep Scott Allen (R-Waukesha), include Assembly Joint Resolution 53 on today’s public hearing agenda. AJR 53 would place a statewide advisory referendum question on the ballot asking voters whether they support a constitutional amendment overturning the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. AJR 53 was referred to the Committee on Constitution and Ethics 141 days ago. Yet, Rep. Allen refused the Democratic Legislators’ request, calling the advisory referendum, a democratic process defined and allowed under Wisconsin law, “politics at its worst.”

Seven years after the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, outside spending on elections by special interests continues to increase, 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. Legislative Republicans and Governor Walker have piled on by enacting legislation that further deregulates election spending by special interests, corporations, and billionaires.

Since the 2010 ruling, 115 communities across the State of Wisconsin have joined 19 states and 730 municipalities nationwide passing referendums or resolutions calling for action to overturn Citizens United. Eight resolutions passed in the most recent spring election with margins ranging from 70% on the low end in Caledonia to 91% in Monona.

“It is stunning that Republican Representative Scott Allen considers giving the average Wisconsinite the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box to be ‘politics at its worst,’” said Rep. Subeck. “Wisconsinites are fed up with the massive corporate and special interest spending Citizens United has ushered into our elections, and it is time to let them be heard.”

Click here to view Representative Subeck and Senator Hansen’s letter requesting AJR 53 be added to today’s hearing, and click here to view Representative Scott Allen’s response.