Thanks to controversial U.S. Supreme Court decisions made throughout the years, contributing money is a constitutionally protected form of expression. For these purposes, a corporation has the same rights as a person.
In practice, this has led to the ability to contribute money without limits—and anonymously—to super PACs for campaigns in favor or against a candidate, as long as action against the opponent is not coordinated.
This has unleashed an avalanche of money that denatures the democratic process. Corporations and interest groups buy more freedom of expression to promote their causes, overwhelming the level of expression of the average citizen.
We have repeatedly said that it is wrong for freedom of expression to only reach as far as your buying power.
Measure C, which is on the May 21 ballot, provides an opportunity to act on this deterioration of democracy.
The proposal supports a constitutional amendment to overturn parts of the Buckley v. Valeo and Citizen United v. FEC decisions, with the main goal of establishing limits on political contributions.
This path is long and presents powerful obstacles. First, the amendment must obtain a two-thirds vote in Congress and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states. However, this outlook must not discourage support for the measure.
By approving Measure C, Los Angeles will join several states and cities around the country that have likewise expressed their wish to change a political funding system that corrupts our democracy.