A bipartisan majority of New York's Senate and Assembly issued letters to Congress on June 15 calling for a 28th amendment. Both Republican and Democratic versions of the letter demand the new amendment say that corporations "are not entitled to the same rights and protections as natural persons under the Constitution," which moves the country toward overturning the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United.
In the four years since Citizens United, outside spending on Senate races nationwide more than doubled.
That decision has resulted in a great expansion of "outside spending," meaning spending by political action committees and nonprofits rather than by candidates' own campaigns. In the first four years after Citizens United was passed, outside spending on Senate races nationwide more than doubled to $486 million. Across all campaigns, super PACs have spent more than $1 billion on races since 2010, with more than 60 percent of that amount coming from fewer than 200 individuals and married couples.
June's letters make New York the 17th state to call for a constitutional amendment on money in politics. The development comes after more than three years of grassroots campaigning, led by the consumer-rights advocacy nonprofit Public Citizen.
A constitutional amendment requires approval by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, or a constitutional convention called by at least three-quarters of state legislatures. Both are daunting notions. But activists hope that if enough states show support for the amendment, Congress will answer the call of their constituents.
Nationwide, 80 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats oppose Citizens United, according to a 2015 Bloomberg poll.