Communities in western Mass among those in the nation fighting - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Communities in western Mass among those in the nation fighting 'Citizens United'

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NORTHAMPTON, MA (WSHM) -

More than 50 Massachusetts cities and towns are saying "no" to a 2-year-old Supreme Court decision.

The Citizens United ruling makes it possible for large corporations and super political action committees to make potentially enormous donations to the candidate of their choice.

It is now coming under fire across the country and in western Massachusetts where more than a dozen cities and towns are swiftly passing resolutions that call for an end to the ruling.

"For the first time in our history we are now saying that corporations are people and money is free speech," said Northampton City Council President William Dwight.

In recent days, his city voted unanimously to pass a resolution in solidarity with 56 other Massachusetts communities. It's a backlash against what the Supreme Court has ruled is a return to constructional rights for corporations.

In 2010 when the ruling passed 5-4, the Supreme Court decided that limiting campaign dollars out of corporations was a violation of their first amendment rights.

"These things are simply not true. The Constitution was established for, by and of the people," Dwight said.

Across the river in Amherst, they agree, and are passing a similar resolution.

"We've just been flooded with campaign contributions from unknown sources, we don't even know if they're from this country," said Amherst town meeting member, Alice Swift.

This is the first presidential election in history where super political action committees and large corporations have been given free rein to invest large sums of money into the candidate of their choosing.

But how does it affect local voters?

"When corporations can flood our political system with unlimited amounts of money, it is very troubling," said volunteer with Free Speech for People, Ryan O'Donnell.

Officials said overturning the ruling is in the best interests of both sides of the aisle.

"The priorities of the conversation are being dictated by private corporations and what they want. I'd like to see conversations talk about what we want," Dwight said.

The state's two senate candidates, Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, have made a pact to pay financial penalties when outside groups advertise on their behalf.

Currently there is a bill in the state Legislature calling for the Citizens United ruling to be overturned.

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