At the first real stop on her campaign tour of Iowa, Hillary Clinton announced support for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment,” Hillary told a group of students at a community college in Iowa.
Hillary wants to overturn a January 2010 Supreme Court decision which made it legal for 501(c) organizations to spend money opposing or supporting a candidate for office. The ruling overturned part of the McCain-Feingold law which had prevented the conservative group Citizens United from airing a film critical of Hillary Clinton on television prior to the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Supreme Court determined those restrictions violated the First Amendment protection of free speech.
Shortly after the Citizens United decision was issued, President Obama began a campaign against it, starting with a State of the Union speech during which he criticized members of the Court who were on hand for his speech.
Though President Obama’s DISCLOSE Act eventually failed to pass in Congress, the IRS agency responsible for approving the status of 501(c) groups effectively shut down approvals of new conservative groups for two years. The long delay was eventually publicized when an Inspector General investigation uncovered the divergent treatment given to conservative groups.
The acting IRS director was fired in the wake of the targeting revelation. Lois Lerner, the government official who oversaw the portion of the IRS responsible (and who had echoed President Obama’s concerns about Citizens United) refused to testify before Congress about her involvement.