People, Not Special Interests: How to Give Political Power Back to Citizens, Not Special Interests

With partisan arguments dominating U.S. politics, it appears that Americans are more divided than ever. Yet, while the loudest voices tend to come from the far ends of the political spectrum, the majority of Americans are somewhere between.

Concern about big money in politics is cross-partisan, as reflected by a recent report from the Pew Research Center that showed a majority of Americans—77 percent—support limits on the amount of money individuals and organizations can spend on political campaigns and issues. The same poll found that 74 percent of Americans say it is “very important” that major political donors not have more influence than others, and another 16 percent say this is “somewhat important.”

Why an Amendment

In the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, the court ruled that campaign contribution limits would restrict the right to free speech—their interpretation of the Constitution is that wealthy corporations, unions and other organizations should be able to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertising.

Most citizens don’t agree, and believe in equal representation regardless of wealth. By amending the Constitution, we create a constitutional requirement for that equal representation.  

Approval of the 28th Amendment will affirm that “We the People” in the middle—rather than big money, corporations, unions and special interests—govern the United States of America. The 28th Amendment will allow Congress and the states to set common-sense limits on campaign contributions and advertising.

Americans have united before in support of a constitutional amendment in response to a judicial ruling. Approval of the 28th Amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling would be the eighth time an amendment has overruled a Supreme Court decision.

What You Can Do

Here are a few ways to show your support for limits on political spending and the 28th Amendment:

  • Ask your representative or candidate to sign the pledge. Before the November election, ask local candidates and incumbents to sign the American Promise pledge to support a 28th Amendment—and represent you rather than wealthy special interest organizations. Find the pledge and see who has signed.

  • Share your concerns. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to inform others in your community about this important and broadly supported issue. Follow our guide here.

  • Get involved locally. American Promise Associations in states and cities across the nation are building grassroots support for the 28th Amendment. Resolutions have been approved by 19 states and more than 800 cities and towns, and these associations are adding to those totals. Find out what’s happening in your state.

Together, American Promise and other supporters of well-rounded, respectful discussions can create a more inclusive and representative U.S. political system.