Bennet: Senate Opts for Status Quo, Proves Disconnect between Washington and Families Back Home

Senate Filibusters Constitutional Amendment to Rein In Out-of-Control Campaign Spending

In a procedural vote today, the Senate blocked further consideration of Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet’s constitutional amendment to restore authority to Congress, individual states, and the American people to regulate campaign finance. Bennet introduced the amendment with Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) last summer.

“Today’s vote is proof of why everybody in Colorado continues to scratch their heads and wonder how we can be so disconnected from their set of priorities – what they care about, the future of their families, the future of their businesses,” Bennet said. “Because of the new world of unlimited spending, Members of Congress are a lot less likely to seek compromise than they once were. Reasonable limits on campaign spending can help address this problem. Changing these rules would bring more compromise and consensus building to this institution but, most important, it would help give individual families a greater say in the political process.

“Despite today’s vote, we will continue to fight to bring sanity back to our campaign system and rein in out-of-control spending in our elections,” Bennet added.

So far in the 2014 election cycle, it’s estimated that $74.8 million of the $153.4 million spent on ads in Senate races across the country has come from outside groups. At the end of July in Colorado, the number of political ads aired around the state had quadrupled compared to the same period in 2010.

The Center for Responsive Politics found that in 2012, the top 100 individual donors and their spouses represented just one percent of all individual donors, but they accounted for 67 percent of the donations.

Colorado voters approved Amendment 65 in November 2012, which urged Colorado’s Congressional delegation to support campaign finance reform through a constitutional amendment.

The proposed constitutional amendment:

  • Restores authority to the American people, through Congress and the states, to set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns
  • Allow states to regulate campaign spending at their level;
  • Includes the authority to regulate and limit independent expenditures, like those from Super PACs;
  • Would not dictate any specific policies or regulations, but instead would allow Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that withstands constitutional challenges;
  • Expressly provides that any regulation authorized under the amendment cannot limit the freedom of the press.

The full text of the amendment can be found here.

Last Congress, Bennet and Udall led the fight for a similar constitutional amendment, which garnered 25 cosponsors.