Nancy Pelosi on how to deal with the GOP money edge: ‘Disclose, win, reform,’ then overturn Citizens United


In the post-Citizens United world, Republicans and their corporate backers appear able to spend unlimited amounts of money to give their side a major advantage in just about any race they choose to contest—last night’s recall election in Wisconsin being the latest case in point. So what’s the Democratic strategy to deal with that?

Rachel Maddow asked that question of Nancy Pelosi at a Washington event today. Here’s how the Democratic House leader responded:

We have to disclose, win, reform, and then amend the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United decision.

What does that mean?

First, Democrats need to pass laws that at least require political contributions to be publicly disclosed, so that, unlike now, voters know who’s behind the barrage of attack ads they’re seeing on TV. Even some Republicans have said in the past they’re open to beefing up disclosure laws, though lately the GOP seems to have soured on the idea.

Then, Pelosi says, Democrats need to gain control of the House and Senate, and keep control of the White House. That would let them pass far-reaching campaign finance reform, to limit the influence of money in politics.

But of course, that might well be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. That’s why, Pelosi says, the ultimate goal is a constitutional amendment clearly protecting efforts to clean up the system. 

That’s not going to happen tomorrow, needless to say. Or for a whole lot of tomorrows. But it’s revealing that Democrats are now so resigned to being consistently on the short end of the money competition that they’re starting to talk about a long-term, step-by-step plan to change the dynamic.