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Annapolis' elected officials oppose Citizens United

ElectionsPoliticsAnnapolisPublic OfficialsJosh Cohen

Annapolis' mayor and all but one city council member have signed a letter asking Congress to amend the Constitution to allow regulation of political contributions and spending.

The letter written on Mayor Joshua Cohen's city letterhead criticizes the effect of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which has led to record spending in political contests and the explosion of so-called super-PACs, or political action committees.

"We believe that these decisions promote an inordinate and corrupting power of wealth in our political system, to the detriment of ordinary citizens," the letter said.

"I'm really troubled by the extreme partisanship in D.C.," Cohen said Wednesday in a statement. "Money isn't the whole reason, but it's a big part of it."

The Community Forum of Annapolis, a citizens group that describes itself as fighting social, economic and political inequality, drafted the letter addressed to members of Congress. The group released the letter this week, although it was signed in July.

Alderman Frederick M. Paone, the lone Republican on the city council, was the only elected city official to decline to sign the letter, which asks for a constitutional amendment granting states and the federal government authority to regulate political spending and contributions.

"This has nothing to do with running the city," Paone said of his opposition. "I don't think we have any business taking up the taxpayers' time and money considering this at a city council meeting."

David Boesel led the Community Forum's effort to persuade city leaders to support the amendment. He said Annapolis' "political leaders are joining a national movement" to overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. Boesel said more than 290 cities and towns have passed such resolutions.

City officials said the letter was not a formal resolution but indicated support for the idea.

ecox@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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