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Dem lawmaker wants referendum on Citizens United ruling

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - It’s been three-and-a-half years since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed corporations and unions to spend money on political campaigns.

Now, a Democratic lawmaker and a coalition of groups are pushing for a statewide referendum to let voters say what they think about the aftermath of the Citizens United ruling.

Madison Assembly Democrat Chris Taylor told reporters Thursday she’ll introduce a bill for an advisory referendum on the question of whether they support corporations spending unlimited amounts on campaigns.

Supporters of the Citizens United ruling say it’s a victory for free speech. Opponents say it has put way too much special interest money in politics.

Lisa Subek of United Wisconsin said total spending for state and federal offices totaled almost $400 million in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles – over three times what it was before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Taylor said it would be hard to get the Republican-controlled Legislature to approve a referendum. She said opponents of the ruling would go door to door to make their case and, “It’s impossible for legislators to ignore this.”

Sixteen other states have approved similar referenda, along with over a dozen Wisconsin communities.

The Citizens United ruling struck down part of the landmark campaign reform law co-sponsored by former U.S. Senate Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Senate Republican John McCain of Arizona.