President Barack Obama believed he was “in a very strong position” to mandate a Constitutional amendment for campaign finance reform during his second term, according to a Big Money, a new book by journalist Ken Vogel.
The president made the comments in 2012 at a high-end, private fundraiser in Seattle, attended by big money supporters such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, writes Justin Sink in the Hill.
“Now, I taught constitutional law,” Obama told the audience. “I don’t tinker with the Constitution lightly. But I think this is important enough that citizens have to get mobilized around this issue, and this will probably be a multiyear effort,”
“After my reelection,” Obama continued, “my sense is that I may be in a very strong position to do it.”
Earlier in the year, the president openly endorsed a constitutional amendment to overturn the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court decision permitting unlimited political financing by outside groups.
“Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court does not revisit it),” Obama wrote during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” question-and-answer session.
“Even if the amendment process falls short,” the president added, “it can shine a spotlight of [sic] the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”
Sink reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the proposed constitutional amendment for regulating campaign spending.
The measure, outlined by Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and Tom Udall would give Congress the power to regulate and limit spending on federal campaigns, as well as expenditures from outside groups. The proposed amendment allow the states to regulate campaign spending in races.
Senate Democrats are looking to make outside spending a major issue in the November midterms; as Reid frequently condemned increasing influence of billionaire GOP donors such as Charles and David Koch.
Republicans counter that the proposed amendment would weaken First Amendment rights.