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Posted on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Fighting Super PACs: Dingell introduces campaign finance reforms to curb excessive election spending

By Ryan J. Stanton

U.S. Rep. John Dingell and a coalition of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday introduced campaign finance reform legislation aimed at curbing excessive election expenditures.

The Restoring Confidence in Our Democracy Act, which is Dingell's answer to Citizens United, would prohibit corporations and unions from making independent expenditures and subjects Super PACs to the same restrictions as regular PACs, including a $5,000 contribution limit.

"Citizens United is one of the most destructive Supreme Court decisions in our nation's history," Dingell, D-Dearborn, said in a statement.


John Dingell

Ryan J. Stanton |

Even worse, Dingell said, the decision completely ignored the factual record and congressional intent when it overturned key provisions of McCain-Feingold.

"Since that time, we have seen an explosion in spending and the emergence of Super PACs, which allow billionaires to funnel unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections," he said.

Dingell, who has raised more than $1 million for his re-election campaign this year, said that fundamentally threatens the nation's democratic system of government.

"My legislation establishes the factual record which details the negative effects of increased spending in our elections," he said. "Hopefully the court will heed the facts this time around.”

Other co-sponsors of the legislation include John Conyers Jr., Carolyn Maloney, Robert Andrews, Diana DeGette, Jim McGovern, Robert Brady, Chris Van Hollen, Keith Ellison, Donna F. Edwards and Barney Frank. It also has been endorsed by Common Cause and the UAW.

"Citizens United is, apart from Bush v. Gore, the most misguided Supreme Court decision of the modern era," Conyers said in a statement. "The free flow of secret money into campaigns directly undermines the public trust. I am proud to support the Dingell bill, which goes a long way towards restoring the integrity of our election system."

Dingell told in an interview earlier this week he's expecting this to be the ugliest election year in the history of the United States.

"It's going to be, I think, the dirtiest, nastiest, election in history," he said. "Second, it is going to be the most expensive election in history. It's probably going to cost more than $2 billion and I can't tell you how much more because of the Citizens United case, which is not only going to permit almost unlimited expenditures, but which will also allow the hiding of the names of people who contribute."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Not sure how far a bill like this will go considering corporations also pay big bucks to purchase lawmakers. We're taught when we are young not to bite the hand that feeds us. I fully support it. Good luck Mr Dingell.


Mon, Aug 6, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

Actually Kennedy's executive order allowing federal collective bargaining is the single most destructive force to negatively impact our country. The Supreme court's decision evened the playing field and the unions and their purchased politicians like Dingell are upset at any competition.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Does that maen the MIDDLE CLASS comes First? Rip van Winkle just woke UP!

Dog Guy

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

Perhaps Dingell could introduce reform legislation banning officeholders' wives from being highly paid lobbyists for no work other than carrying home the money.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

I think it's cool that so many people enjoy living in an oligarchy where political campaigns are now controlled by few people, in secret. Now THAT is a way to run a republic, keep the sheep ignorant and confused. How about a law that says all ads have to be truthful? Surely the Party of The Ten Commandments could not be against that?


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

I did not read anything in the proposed legislation that would make it harded for unions to use union dues to give to democrats. Would it be wonderful if all canidates played nice? Yes. This is a settled issue, move on. Maybe the approachable congressman will set a new precedence and refuse all union money and disavow all negitive super pac adds.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Pot calling the kettle black...

Superior Twp voter

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 2:42 a.m.

Bwaaaahahahahahaaaa! John Dingell has been a super PAC for over fifty (50) years! Joker.

David Paris

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

Lots of hot air here, but can anyone explain how the average ballot-caster is benefited by Citizens United? Because, the only way, far as I can tell, to benefit from Citizens United is to have Substantial Wealth. By substantial wealth I mean millions of dollars invested in the stock market so that- money that a corporation pays into PAC's eventually benefit the corporation enough that their share price goes up, there-by enriching your investments. Please, correct me if I'm misunderstanding this. I can't knock Dingell for trying, though as some noted, he is a little tardy on the matter.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

If Dingell is for it I must be against it! This is nothing more than a headline grabbing stunt! NOBODY has benefited more than this dinosaur from union donations.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

Open to discussion and closer scrutiny if it really inhibits BOTH Unions and Corporations. But, it won't get that and he knows it. Congress does summer recess next week, not back at all until September and with election in November, not a chance. This is really the Dingell Obligatory Grandstanding before election measure (DOG).

Joe Kidd

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

Citizens United was a First Amendment case. The court frequently protects the First Amendment in a strong manner. As I have always said, the party that will take your rights away is the democrat party.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Good luck, John.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Leave it to Dingell to come up with something that sounds good but will never happen and he knows about working to improve the American economy John ?.......Would that be too much to ask for by the American citizens you claim to represent?


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

You mean like funding for the Stadium Bridge in Ann Arbor, and funding for the Ann Arbor firemen to get their staffing up to full levels ? Is that the kind of work on improving the economy you're suggesting? I thought, to keep it simple for you, I would just include a couple of simple local examples from Dingell's decades long career.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Please start with the Democrats and their pal, George Soros. Once this is done and affective, roll across the board to all parties.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

How about the never ending Donor Koch Brothers or the $100 Million Dollar Donor, Adelson, from the Republican Party ?


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

Why not use the McCain-Feingold Act, Public Law 107-155? I thought that this would do the same thing? Politics is dirty and nobody plays dirtier than the Democrats!

Joe Kidd

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

The McCain Feingold Act is the law the Citizens United case ruled as unconstitutional.

Top Cat

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

Geez if we could only get this nasty thing called the 1st Amendment out of the way and suppress those who oppose the wonderfully successful progressive agenda...what a wonderful world it would be.

Robert Gordon

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Thank goodness.