Weekly Address: Giving Government Back to the American People

Over the past few weeks, as we’ve debated reforms to hold Wall Street accountable and protect consumers and small businesses in our financial system, we’ve come face-to-face with the great power of special interests in the workings of our democracy.  Of course, this isn’t a surprise.  Every time a major issue arises, we’ve come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor.

That’s one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington.  And that’s why, since the day I took office, my administration has been taking steps to reform the system.  Recently, however, the Supreme Court issued a decision that overturned decades of law and precedent – dealing a huge blow to our efforts to rein in this undue influence.  In short, this decision gives corporations and other special interests the power to spend unlimited amounts of money – literally millions of dollars – to affect elections throughout our country.  This, in turn, will multiply their influence over decision-making in our government.

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In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling, we face a similar challenge.  That’s why it’s so important that Congress consider new reforms to prevent corporations and other special interests from gaining even more clout in Washington.  And almost all of these reforms are designed to bring new transparency to campaign spending. They are based on the principle espoused by former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis – that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

You can read the full transcript here.

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