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Council Takes Stand On Federal Campaign Finance Laws - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville City Council Takes Stand On Federal Campaign Finance Laws

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Charlottesville City Council is taking a stand on an issue, some say, has nothing to do with the city they were elected to govern.  

Monday night, council voted 4-0, with councilor Kathy Galvin abstaining, to ask Virginia's General Assembly to support a constitutional amendment aimed at putting tighter restrictions on federal campaign finance laws.  The move followed a small rally and press conference outside City Hall.

"I think that a giant corporation that lives forever, that can't be put in prison, that's not responsible to anyone, that often has no national interests at all, that's taking this money from overseas and from secret sources, is not a human being, is not a person," activist David Swanson said.

That amendment would reverse a controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision, which eased campaign finance limits.  The 5-4 decision in Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission allowed corporations and unions the same freedom of speech rights as individuals.  Most people in attendance at Monday night's council meeting supported the resolution, but Naomi Roberts is opposed and says enough is enough.

"We have enough problems in this city that we need to take care of and I don't think it's the councilors business to get involved in the state and federal issues," Roberts said.  "We have to take care of things here first."

Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos responded to Roberts directly. "I think that to not pay attention to things like this, pretends that we make our local decisions in a vacuum and we don't," Szakos said.

Councilor Galvin was the only dissenting voice on the panel. "I believe city council has got to stay focused on taking actions that will have the most tangible impact on citizens of Charlottesville," she said.

Monday night's vote follows another recent vote to ask state lawmakers to legalize marijuana possession.

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