Democrats want to amend Constitution to control 'super-PAC' campaign spending

House Democrats on Monday proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would explicitly give Congress the power to regulate how money is raised and spent in federal elections, and thereby give Congress the right to limit contributions to candidates and spending by candidates and their supporters.

Under the proposed amendment, Congress would be given the "power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), the lead sponsor of the amendment, said it would give Congress the power to regulate "super-PACs," which her office said have concentrated money and power "in the hands of the political elite and away from working Americans."

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"At a time when America's confidence in its elected officials is at an all-time low, and spending by shady outside political groups in campaigns is at an all-time high, we must take bold action to fix a system that no longer serves the American people," Sutton said. "This amendment will give Congress the chance to right the wrongs of past Supreme Court decisions and finally put political power back in the hands of the American people, not the deep pockets of big corporations and secret political attack groups."

The amendment would also give states similar authority to regulate money as it is raised and spent in statewide elections, allowing states to set limits on both.

Sutton and four other House Democrats introduced their proposal, H.J.Res. 86, just as House Republicans prepare to vote this week on their proposed balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. The proposal is a companion to a proposal that Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced Nov. 1.

Passing any amendment to the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate, after which three-fourths of the states must ratify the amendment. The GOP's balanced-budget amendment will face that same hurdle when it comes up for a vote this week.