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Rep. John Lewis Says Government is Now Up for Sale

April 3, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON--Today the U.S. Supreme Court made a critical decision that will dramatically affect the quality of the electoral process in the United States.  The decision extends the damage the Citizens United v. FEC decision made to the integrity of U.S. elections by removing the cap placed on the number of campaigns to which one individual can contribute.

            Before the ruling one person could only donate a maximum of $2600 to a limited number of campaigns.  Now individuals must still abide by the $2600 cap to any one campaign, but they can contribute to as many political campaigns in one election or around the country as they would like. 

            The decision was sharply divided 5-4 with pointed dissent launched by numerous justices.  “If Citizens United opened a door,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer during his dissent, “today’s decision we fear will open a floodgate.” 

Rep. John Lewis made these comments upon hearing about the decision:

                "Today the Supreme Court has declared that the federal government is up for sale to the highest bidder.  To suggest, as the Chief Justice did that, political campaign contributions can be likened to newspaper subscriptions, is an unfortunate comparison.  This decision tilts the balance of electoral power toward individuals with the deepest pockets, who after today have the power to influence as many elections across the country as they would like.

            "One man one vote is a sacred principle of our democracy.  The reason limits were placed on campaign contributions was to protect the integrity of the vote in this country, so that no one individual or corporation would have the power to override the public will or dictate the outcome of elections.  Today a series of Supreme Court decisions and state legislative actions are silencing the voices of the poor and the working class in the electoral process, and are giving the wealthy an unfair advantage over those who depend on the protection of the government the most.

            "It is important for the people to remain vigilant and struggle against these new devices.  As Martin Luther King Jr. said nothing can stop the power of a determined people committed to make a difference."