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The Push To Set New Limits On Election Spending

Congressman Jim McGovern says a push to add a new amendment to the U.S. constitution that would limit election spending is making headway.

The Worcester Democrat, who for years has been pushing to overturn a 2010 Supreme Court decision which opened the floodgates for money in politics, told Greater Boston that support is building in Congress to pass a 28th amendment that would essentially overturn that ruling.

“I’ve been in Congress now for a little while and one thing I can tell you with certainty is money is polluting our political process and taking power away from average people,” McGovern said. He later added the issue over too much money in politics is one of the few liberals and conservatives agree on.

The amendment, according to McGovern would limit the amount of money that’s spent on political campaigns, would over turn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and “would establish the fact that corporations are not people.”

Appearing alongside McGovern on during a Monday interview, Jeff Clements, president and co-founder of American Promise, a group leading the 28th Amendment charge, said his organization is seeing an increase in support as well.

“This will be the first constitutional amendment in the digital age,” said Clements, a former assistant attorney general of Massachusetts. Clements says he's currently on a “writing tour” aimed getting Americans involved in drafting the amendment language. “We do have a 50-state campaign and whether it’s Wyoming, which is a deep red state, or here in Massachusetts, we find big support for this constitutional amendment.”

In Massachusetts, the movement gained a minor victory Monday when Secretary of State William Galvin officially certified a ballot question that, if passed, would create a commission to recommend federal constitutional changes to election spending.

“You know, six years ago -- I was working with Jeff – we drafted two constitutional amendments to deal with this issue. We had about a handful of co-sponsors, now we’re up to 150 co-sponsors, McGovern told Braude. “This is doable. We can actually win this.”

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