Sen. Tester Introduces Constitutional Amendment - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Sen. Tester Introduces Constitutional Amendment

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MISSOULA -

Senator Jon Tester is trying to pass a constitutional amendment to limit corporate influence on elections. It's an issue that has previously come before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Sen. Tester said the high court got it wrong.

In 2010, The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion defining corporations as people, saying unlimited corporate contributions to elections were covered under First Amendment rights to free speech. The case was brought by a conservative nonprofit corporation known as Citizens United.

"I think they got it wrong on the Citizens United case," Tester said in a Skype interview with ABC FOX MONTANA.

Now, Tester is attempting to pass a constitutional amendment overturning that decision.

"I've always said elections need to be about people and their ideas and not corporations and their money," Tester said.

The 17-line proposal states "The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations." It goes on it say the proposal will not limit first amendment rights for individual citizens.

"What we're seeing in elections right now is not good for democrats, it's not good for republicans and it's not good for our democracy," Tester said.

He recently came off of the most expensive election in Montana's history where corporations spent millions supporting their favorite candidate.

"Some was to my benefit. Some was to the benefit of my opponent. The bottom line is: way, way, way too much of that money was anonymous money," Tester said.

Constitutional amendments must pass both chambers of Congress with a two-thirds majority and be ratified in three-fourths of state legislatures.

"It's tough to get a constitutional amendment through, there's no doubt about it," Tester said.

So does he think this will pass or is he bringing it up simply to make a point?

"Well, it's both," Tester said. "You make the point, put forth a possible solution to the problem, which is what we've done here with this constitutional amendment, and then move forward and try to get it passed."

Tester said he's hopeful the amendment will pass.

Montana's history with corporations and election funding goes back to the days of the Copper Kings, who used their money to buy elections. In 1912, Montana voters passed a law limiting corporate influence on elections.

That law was recently stuck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. But, in November nearly 75 percent of Montana voters supported an initiative to limit corporate spending on elections.

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