Biden Calls for Allowing Only the Government to Fund House, Senate and Presidential Campaigns

By Staff | March 2, 2020 | 4:12pm EST
Sen. Joe Biden hungs Sen. Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
Sen. Joe Biden hungs Sen. Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit private individuals from using their own money to make a contribution to a federal election campaign or to fund their own federal campaign, according to a plan posted on Biden's campaign website.

The Biden amendment would need to curtail the First Amendment, which guarantees Americans “the freedom of speech.” In its 2010 decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court affirmed that spending money on a political campaign is a constitutionally protected exercise of that right.

On his campaign website, Biden has published what he calls a “Plan to Guarantee Government Works for the People.”

Part of this plan seeks the constitutional amendment that would prohibit Americans using their own money for political campaigns. The amendment, as Biden describes it, would give the government the sole power to fund federal campaigns.

"Introduce a constitutional amendment to entirely eliminate private dollars from our federal elections,” says Biden’s plan.

“Biden believes it is long past time to end the influence of private dollars in our federal elections,” it says.

“As president,” says the plan, “Biden will fight for a constitutional amendment that will require candidates for federal office to solely fund their campaigns with public dollars, and prevent outside spending from distorting the election process.

“This amendment,” says the plan, “will do far more than just overturn Citizens United: it will return our democracy to the people and away from the corporate interests that seek to distort it.”

Under Biden’s proposed amendment, a person seeking to challenge an incumbent member of Congress would need to ask the federal government to fund his or her campaign.

Biden’s plan does not spell out under what conditions the federal government would or would not give federal tax dollars to an American who wanted to challenge a member of Congress—or seek the nomination of one of the political parties for an open congressional seat.




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