Study commission calls for constitutional amendment limiting influence of money on elections
A constitutional amendment to end the dominance of concentrated money in politics is prominent among the key reforms recommended in a report announced this week by the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship convened by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
The commission’s report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, is the product of two years of study, research, and nearly 50 listening sessions with Americans from various demographic and political backgrounds across the nation.
The recommendation to ratify a constitutional amendment to secure the equal rights and representation of all Americans with limits on election spending — work currently being coordinated by American Promise — is featured as an essential objective.
Others include implementation of ranked choice voting, automatic voter registration, new mechanisms for Congress to interact with its constituents, a national trust for civic infrastructure, a public interest mandate for social media platforms, and public and philanthropic initiatives to invest heavily in civic education.
“The commission report is an urgent alarm and a challenge to us all; American Promise accepts this challenge.” says American Promise President Jeff Clements. “Constitutional amendments are uncommon, but in times of crisis and challenge Americans come together to make them
happen for the good of the country.”
In its report, the commission concludes that significant change is necessary, but also possible— and positive. The report also shines a light on the organizations, advocates, public officials and civic leaders already working toward a system that fosters a sense of community and a shared commitment to solving problems.
“Time is of the essence: We pledge to get the amendment ratified by July 4, 2026, and our members in all 50 states are hard at work,”,” says Leah Field, American Promise’s managing director. “We invite all Americans to join us.”
The effort has the backing of a trio of congressional Democrats: New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, Florida Sen. Ted Deutch and Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern.
“Our democracy is at a crisis point,” Udall said. “The commission’s report is an urgent alarm – but also a hopeful blueprint for how we repair our government and return power to the people. I was glad to see that the commission urges the passage and ratification of my constitutional amendment to put power in the hands of the American people rather than wealthy interests. I will work with all Americans to pass and ratify this constitutional amendment, as well as so much other needed reform to return our democracy to its rightful owners – the people.”
“There’s no doubt that our country needs urgent, fundamental reform,” Deutch said. “The commission’s report is a promising roadmap for us to get it done together. I will continue my work in Congress on one of the report’s most essential recommendations: a constitutional amendment to curb out-of-control money in our elections and empower the voices of all Americans in our government.”
“I congratulate the commission and so many Americans who participated in creating this roadmap to a renewed American democracy,” McGovern said. “This work is urgent. Over the past decade since the catastrophic Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC opened the floodgates to unlimited money in our elections, we have done the hard work to move the constitutional amendment that is needed to reverse that decision closer and closer to the finish line. Now, with this bipartisan commission’s powerful call to all Americans that we ratify this amendment before it’s too late, it is time for Congress to pass this amendment and send it to the states for ratification.”