A press conference was held Wednesday afternoon at the N.C. General Assembly to rally support for a joint legislative resolution to overturn the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of Citizens United v FEC.
The 2010 ruling struck down certain provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, introduced by U.S. Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold in 2002, on grounds that it violated the free speech rights of corporations and unions.
The Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case barred restrictions on independent political expenditures, essentially allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums of money to influence the outcome of elections.
Objectors to the Citizens United ruling believe that it could have a corrupting influence on elections, as those running for office might be more likely to emphasize the needs of their corporate supporters rather than those of their individual constituents.
The press conference, which featured a number of speakers from the General Assembly and good-government groups in support of the resolution, carried a resounding theme of the Citizens United decision violating the tenets of democracy. Rep. Verla Insko stressed that the vast amount of money that corporations are able to spend in support of candidates could drown out the voice of voters, creating a government that is no longer of, by and for the people. Other speakers asserted that corporations should not be treated as natural persons and that money does not equal speech.
Rep. Insko is among the primary sponsors of the resolution calling for overturning Citizens United, a group that also includes Representatives Ray Rapp, Pricey Harrison, Patsy Keever and Sen. Eleanor Kinnaird. The measure is currently referred to the Committee on Rules in the N.C. House and is held as filed in the N.C. Senate.