Just two years after Maryland rescinded the state’s application for an Article V convention, legislators are again considering calling for a convention. This time, though, Maryland legislators want the convention to be focused on campaign finance reform.
While we all agree that we must change our campaign finance system, trying to change it in a constitutional convention is a bad idea. There are no rules or guidelines in the Constitution on how an Article V convention would work, which means there is no real way to limit the scope of a convention. An Article V convention, which would likely be dominated by wealthy special interests, could lead to all of our constitutional rights and civil liberties being put up for grabs, including the right to free speech and the right to vote.
The office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh seems to agree with this assessment. In a letter recently sent to the state legislature, Sandra Benson Brantley, the Counsel to the General Assembly in the Attorney General’s office, laid out why legal scholars warn about the threat of a runaway convention. Brantley cited former Maryland Attorney General Stephen Sachs, who once warned “the basic problem is that there appears to be no effective way to limit the convention’s scope once it is called.”
Click here to read the full letter from the Maryland Attorney General’s office to the state legislature.