Politics

NH Legislature Calls For Constitutional Amendment On Political Spending

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.

Constitutional Amendment On Political Spending
Image Courtesy of Liz Iacobucci

The NH House passed the same measure in a bipartisan vote on March 7th. To date, more than 80 Granite State municipalities have also passed similar resolutions.

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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 state Sen. Jim Rubens, of 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.

“For years, Granite Staters have been working together across party lines, trying to get a constitutional amendment to renew the promise of equal citizenship and effective self-governance,” said American Promise President Jeff Clements. “The unflagging work of so many citizens has paid off. New Hampshire’s stand adds big momentum to the drive for a 28th Amendment to secure free speech and representation for all Americans, not just the few.”

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.”

“Public service should be about serving the public, not catering to outside interests just to be able to mount a viable campaign,” said Rep. Joseph Guthrie (R-Hampstead), a cosponsor. “Eighty percent of our state’s citizens believe that ‘Big Money’ is a problem in New Hampshire elections. Nationally, 84% of people believe that money has too much influence on elections. I’m glad the Legislature has taken this opportunity to be leaders on this national issue.”

“I am elated, that my state, New Hampshire, becomes the 20th state to call for a constitutional amendment to address the role of money in our elections.” said Olivia Zink, Open Democracy NH 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.”

John Pudner, Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic, a conservative campaign reform organization, called the bill “good policy.”

“I hear from Republican candidates concerned about anonymous ads from groups funded by Soros, Bloomberg, Steyer, and others. This is the first step in protecting those candidates – all candidates – from nasty anonymous ads,” Pudner said. “A constitutional amendment is everyone’s best interests. It’s good for voters, it’s good for candidates, and it’s good for elected officials who want to be able to focus on their constituents rather than Big Money donors.”

“This victory today is due to years of work by citizens around New Hampshire,” said Steve Lipscomb, Managing Director of Fix It America. “Thank you to Open Democracy, American Promise and Take Back Our Republic for supporting the bill.”