With a 14-10 vote, the New Hampshire General Court today became the 20th state legislature to call on Congress for a constitutional amendment allowing limits on political spending.
“I am elated that New Hampshire is the 20th state to call for constitutional amendment to address the role of money in our elections.” said Olivia Zink, Open Democracy Action, Executive Director. “We know Granite Staters care deeply about this problem: 82 towns passed local resolutions calling for this. Eight in ten of us think special interests have more influence than voters in New Hampshire politics. Now that this bill has been passed by the state Legislature, we call on our congressional delegation to take action, as well.”
Derry resident Corinne Dodge convinced her Town Council to pass a resolution four years ago, and then formed the grassroots group “NH Voters Restoring Democracy” to push for a constitutional amendment. “The future of our country is at stake: our children’s and grandchildren’ futures are at stake,” she said. “Government decisions that benefit wealthy campaign donors and large corporations are usually not good for the rest of us.”
“Recent polling shows that voters believe ‘political corruption’ is our nation’s #1 crisis,” said former NH State Sen. Jim Rubens, (R-Etna). “Government is increasingly picking economic winners via tax subsidies, regulatory favoritism and spending programs. Businesses compete by buying influence in Washington instead of offering better products and services to consumers. Crony capitalism in a direct result of our corrupt political system – and it is reducing public support for free-market capitalism.”
“HB504 is the best route to putting New Hampshire legislators back in control over campaign finance and spending here in New Hampshire,” Rubens said.
“We applaud the thousands of activists, organizers, and other citizens who fought for years in New Hampshire for the idea that our democracy belongs to all of us, not just corporations and the very wealthy. Misguided Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United let wealthy special interests set the political agenda at the expense of ordinary Americans, but activists nationwide are fighting back with measures like H.B. 504,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at the People For the American Way (PFAW).
“We hope that others will be as encouraged as we are by what organizers and policymakers have accomplished today in New Hampshire and use this moment to redouble our efforts to take back our democracy and to pass the Democracy For All amendment,” Baker added.
Legislatures in 19 other states have already called on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment and send it to the states for ratification.
“Everyone, of every political stripe, agrees that our elections are bought and paid for. This is not the representative democracy our founders wanted,” said Rep. Ellen Read (D-Newmarket), sponsor of the bill. “Today, New Hampshire has made a giant bipartisan statement that we won’t stand for corruption. That people are more important than money.”
— NH Labor News