Campaign finance reform message comes to Buffalo

Nov 19, 2012

Ralph Nader is pushing for a constitutional amendment to allow government regulation of campaign spending.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's  Citizens United decision, most controls on fundraising and spending on elections and rules requiring reporting contributions went away.  That's why so much money was spent in the recent election cycle from groups of mysterious origins and shadowy sources of cash.

Now, Nader's "Democracy Is For People" project is holding meetings around the country pushing for a constitutional amendment.

Lawyer Jonah Minkoff-Zern was in Buffalo on a road tour, pushing for one possible amendment, and saying his group is helping push for 13 other amendments filed with Congress to start a public debate.

Minkoff-Zern said $6 billion was spent on campaigns this year.

"That influences who gets in office but what they do once they are in office.  The presidential debates is maybe one of the most obvious examples of that where we just had the warmest year in recorded history yet climate change didn't come up.  When you look at the role that the energy industry had in both of those campaigns and the amount the energy industry is pouring into election funding. there's an obvious correlation," said Minkoff-Zern.

Minkoff-Zern said an offshoot of the post-Citizens United decision is that there are no controls on another country pouring money into American political campaigns.