Letter: Atkins is ‘helping return power to the people’

To the editor:

Four years ago the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.

The decision determined that special interests are entitled to the same freedom of speech as individuals. As a result, corporations and unions can donate unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, particularly through the use of “Super PACs” - political action committees that can accept and freely spend unlimited funds to affect outcomes.

In 2010 these Super PACs spent $62.6 million. In 2012 that number jumped to $609.4 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

We must act now to curtail this infringement on the electoral process. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, is helping to return power to the people of Minnesota by co-sponsoring HF 276 - a resolution requesting Congress to introduce a constitutional amendment confirming that constitutional rights apply to real people and not faceless corporations.

Common Cause Minnesota supports Rep. Atkins and HF 276, because we believe Americans cannot sit by and watch unlimited money from unnamed sources influence our political process.

Atkins should also be commended for authoring HF 1953 - a bill that levels the playing field between corporations, which can currently pump tax-free money into politics, and ordinary citizens who cannot use the same loophole. We need to keep local elections about local interests, not corporate greed.

We thank Atkins for supporting individuals’ rights to free speech, and ask that you join him in resisting the overwhelming influence of special interests in our democracy.

Jerry Franck
Mendota Heights
Common Cause Minnesota chair


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