Skip to content

House calls for U.S. constitutional convention to address money in politics

by caprecord

The House passed a resolution just before a major cutoff deadline on Wednesday requesting the U.S. Congress call a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. constitution.

House Joint Memorial 4000 would ask the convention to address concerns about money in politics. Supporters of the bill want to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which allowed corporations to spend money in politics like individuals.

The U.S. Constitution can only be amended under Article 5 through a constitutional convention, or if U.S. Congress proposes an amendment approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate. A constitutional convention can be called if two-thirds of state legislatures request it.

Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, voted in support of the memorial, saying that it “restores the power of democracy to the people.” He says the move will address unfair and corrupt elections.

“We have to get dark money and powerful forces out of our elections so that it’s returned to the people,” he said. “This is the process that begins that.”

He said that if enough states do the same Congress will have to “hit the panic button.”

“Sometimes it take one year and sometimes it takes 15 years,” he said. “But if at the end of the day if you believe all of the power of this government is derived of the people and that the constitution established the states as the go to place when Congress won’t act, House Joint Memorial 4000 is our answer.”

Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, voted in opposition to the bill. While he said it was exciting to be referencing Article 5, he said conventions don’t usually work. He said it’s the pressure of the states that work.

“We’ve only used Article 5 to expand civil liberties to expand political participation rights,” he said. “We never used the Article 5 process to narrow those rights.”

He also warned of what it would mean for the future.

“If we were to actually accomplish what this joint memorial calls for, we’d have to ask the government for permission to engage in political speech,” he said.

The bill passed on a vote of 52-46.

TVW app on Google Pixel 5
TVW logo

Take us with you on the go

Your source for in-depth, around the clock, non-partisan Washington state news coverage.

TVW app on Apple iPhone