Voters should reject Initiative 735, which would do nothing to correct the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United.
A STATE ballot measure that asks Congress to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision may sound good. But Initiative 735 is something the voters should consider carefully before casting votes.
Voters should reject I-735 as unnecessary, overreaching and a little bit odd. In this case, the cure is worse than the disease.
More than a dozen other states have sent statements to Congress asking lawmakers to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that lifted the cap on outside spending on elections. The ruling ignited bipartisan opposition, including a critique from The Seattle Times, because it, in part, gave corporations similar rights to people in expressing political views.
But Initiative 735 does more than ask Congress to overturn Citizens United. The two-page proposal also recommends Congress pull money from other kinds of corporations out of the election process, including nonprofit corporations like the American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, the National Rifle Association and labor unions. The initiative calls these groups “other artificial legal entities.”
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Final action would be up to lawmakers, of course. But what if they embrace these wrong-headed suggestions in Washington’s initiative? Voters should shudder at that possibility.
A much better approach is for Congress to make changes to campaign-finance laws that demand more transparency and set reasonable spending limits. Congress should not eliminate big swaths of campaign spending — and free speech — because people don’t like the content of some of it.
Vote no on this initiative, then sit down and write an email to your U.S. senators and representatives, encouraging them to overturn Citizens United and improve the nation’s campaign-finance laws to require more transparency.