City officials waded into national politics by signing a letter asking Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to help curb political spending and contributions.
The letter—which is written on Mayor Josh Cohen's city letterhead—asks Congress to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United, which removed the cap on the amount of money corporations and unions can spend on political campaigns.
"I'm turned off by the state of national politics," Cohen said. "The tone has become so bitter and polarized."
It's a tone he attributes to the rise of Super PACs—independent political action committees like Karl Rove's American Crossroads which is reported by Bloomberg Business Week to have spent about $300 million on this election cycle.
All this money breeds negativity and extremism in Cohen's mind. He said it's the antithesis of local politics where "we have differing opinions, but it's not polarized. We understand each others concerns and work to reach consensus."
Cohen and every Annapolis Alderman except for Fred Paone (R-2nd Ward) signed the letter drafted by the Community Forum of Annapolis, a group whose website describes themselves as "dedicated to the proposition that our political process and economy should serve the needs of all Americans."
Citizens United's project director, David Boesel, said in statement that ”Annapolis political leaders are joining a national movement for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United."
More than 290 local governments and seven state legislatures have passed resolutions calling for an amendment since Since Bosel started his grassroots campaign.
Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for a constitutional amendment to give states and the federal government the authority to regulate elections spending, according to the Huffington Post.
Cohen recognized that the Citizens United decision had little effect on city politics where he said "money has much less of an impact" and elections are often won with door-to-door campaign efforts rather than television ads.
He said he still thought it was an important moral stance for the council to take, but Paone disagreed. He told the Baltimore Sun that he wouldn't sign the letter precisely because it had nothing to do with the business of running Annapolis.