LETTER: Working locally to change Citizens United

To the Editor:

Our country is divided on a lot of issues. But there is one issue over 85 percent of voters agree on: money has too much influence in politics and elections. The 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision set aside historic limitations on financial contributions, resulting in an explosion of new money, primarily from the very rich. The Koch brothers have pledged $400 million for the 2018 campaign. 

The swelling money game in politics is being felt at the local level. Ramsey County has more than 30 registered PACs. Minnesota lobbyists expend more than $300,000 per elected official to gain influence. Outside money from special interests influenced city council elections in both Edina and Rochester last year — Roseville could be next.

What can the average perso do about this? A growing group of Roseville citizens have affiliated with state and national groups working to reverse Citizens United. The only path to overturn a Supreme Court decision is a constitutional amendment. Some 19 states have persuaded their legislatures to ask Congress for this action. It will require perhaps 33 states to demonstrate sufficient grassroots support for Congress to act.

Twin amendment bills now sit in the Minnesota House and Senate. But they have been denied a hearing, debate or a vote. Contact your city council and ask them to support this measure, and join one of these sponsoring organizations to push for this critical change: Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections; American Promise; Common Cause-MN; League of Women Voters.

James Herrick, Lauderdale

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