Congressman Keith Ellison appeared on Elliot Spitzer’s show on Current TV to discuss, among other things, his efforts to overturn Citizens United. Since Current TV doesn’t allow the video to be embedded, here’s the transcript for the relevant portion of the interview:
Elliot Spitzer: Joined by Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota who is leading the charge to repeal Citizens United. First, Congressman, tell me, what is your Constitutional amendment and why is it so important?
Keith Ellison: The Constitutional amendment is very simple. It simply says that Congress shall have the authority to regulate political speech of corporations. You know, under Citizens United… the Supreme Court conferred the rights of a natural person’s ability to speak onto a corporation and what we have seen is a mountain of money just flood into many places, including Wisconsin. We’re attempting to stop that.
ES: You’re building a coalition of mayors, county executives, local officials who are on the ground floor of politics who are the ones who are most directly affected and I think that’s going to be critically important and effective. How many mayors do you have already and are you getting support from big city mayors?
KE: Absolutely. Let me tell you, we have… over a thousand elected public officials — not sure they’re all mayors but a lot of them are mayors. As a matter of fact, I was talking to some local mayors right in the fifth congressional district of Minnesota, they’re excited about it. But we’re actually asking city councils to pass resolutions. And so, New York has passed one. Los Angeles has passed one. Duluth, Minnesota has passed one. Minneapolis is taking one up this week. We’re seeing a whole groundswell of cities that are passing resolutions saying, “look, Congress, overturn Citizens United so that the right to free speech is something that a natural person is in possession of and corporate speech can be regulated as it should be.”
Big kudos and much love for Rep. Ellison for engaging this fight. But the problem with Rep. Ellison’s approach is that it smacks of partisanship to omit mentioning unions, and it’s less effective to omit non-profits, etc. Corporations are not the only problem here: