Bellows takes heat for election year flip-flop on Citizens United


An ad released by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Saturday criticized Democratic Senate candidate Shenna Bellows for “flip-flopping” on a proposed constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United.

The ad centers on a video clip from November 2013, showing Bellows responding to an audience member questioning her support for a constitutional amendment overruling Citizens United — a Supreme Court ruling that critics say opened the flood gates for the entry of money into politics.

“I’ll be honest, as someone who has spent much of my career defending the constitution, constitutional amendments give me some concern, and this one in particular,” she said. “I get very concerned about the unintended consequences of that constitutional amendment.”

As the former Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, Bellows led the organization in opposing the same amendment as unconstitutional. She appears to have continued in her opposition after leaving the ACLU of Maine up to when the video was recorded early in her campaign for U.S. Senate.

By the spring of 2014, Bellows seems to have backed off her hard opposition to an amendment. In an interview with Salon in April, she was asked whether the ACLU’s position on Citizens United was correct. In her response, Bellows steered clear of discussing the constitutionality of Citizens United as well as the ACLU’s position. She said, “I support meaningful campaign finance reform… Maine has a clean elections system, so in the Maine legislature we see a diverse array of elected officials… I think we need to see national public funding mechanisms that are very similar to what we have in Maine…” She does not repeat her past opposition to an amendment. While falling short of endorsing an amendment, she clearly declares her belief that “Citizens United is one of the gravest threats to democracy…”

But, in June, Bellows appears to have pulled a 180 degree change in position. In an email, Bellows announced her new-found support for a constitutional amendment reversing Citizens United without any explanation as to what changed her mind:

“You’ve likely seen a flurry of proposals for constitutional amendments that would overturn the ruling in Citizens United. I led the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine for eight years, and I know how serious it is to propose an amendment to the Constitution. That’s why I’m specifically calling for us to pass the Harkin amendment, which would restore constitutional authority to the states and Congress to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.”

Bellows responded to accusations of flip-flopping this morning on WVOM saying, “This is politics as usual. In the fall, I talked about the constitutional amendments that were on the table that were over-broad. I think it’s really important that any time you’re going to amend the Constitution, we make sure that it’s deliberative; that it’s as narrow as possible. Senator Tom Udall’s Constitutional amendment wasn’t up for a vote last fall, there was a tremendous amount of work done in the spring and the summer, and it is very narrowly constructed so that it would simply answer the question of whether Congress and state legislatures can regulate expenditures and contributions.”

However, Senator Tom Udall’s Constitutional Amendment, the same bill she will be endorsing later today, was on the table last fall at the time the video was recorded, according to Collins’ campaign. Either the candidate was unaware of campaign financing reform efforts at the time, or she has changed her position.

One possible motivation for this change is who is financing Bellows’ campaign. The biggest contributors to Bellows’ campaign, organizations like Democracy for America,, and Blue America, are all supporters of reversing the Citizens United decision. Could it be that Bellows decision to endorse a constitutional limit on campaign spending was influenced by campaign spending?

Here’s the video from Collins:

Nathan Strout
Maine Wire Reporter


  1. Flip-flop … Not.

    Bellows (in her 2013 comments) urged caution in considering Constitutional amendments because of “unintended consequences,” not opposition to the intent of curbing political contributions from corporations.

    This isn’t a change in position at all. It’s advocating thoughtful examination on a matter of great consequence before arriving at a decision.

    So, it’s clear where Shenna Bellows stands. How about Collins?

  2. S.Hussein Collins should be spending her rich campaign war chest supporting an end to wasteful federal spending and the restoration of the 10th Amendment rights of the States and the People . Running attack ads against a weak token opponent is poor sportsmanship at best .

  3. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several
    emails with thhe sawme comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that
    service? Cheers!

    My web page; Zombie Lane Hack

  4. Greetings! Quick question that’stotallyoff topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobioe friendly?
    My web site looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone.
    I’m trying to fihd a template or plugin that might be able to correct thbis issue.
    If you have any suggestions, pplease share. With thanks!

    my weblog :: Metal Slug defence

  5. Hey There. I found your wenlog the usage of msn. That is an extremely smartly written article.

    I will make sure tto bookmark it and return to learn more
    of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

    Take a look at my webpage – Metal Slug gratis

  6. What i do not understood is iin truth how you are nno longer actually much more neatly-appreciated than you might be right now.

    You are so intelligent. You recognize thus considerably in terms of tis topic, produced me for my part imagine it
    from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved until it’s one thing to do with Girl gaga!
    Your personal stuffs great. Always deal with it up!

    my site; Real Racing 3 Hack mgs

  7. Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further
    post thanks once again.

    My site: clash of lords 2 hack tool – Jaclyn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here