Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch.
Nothing has had as much affect on this years Republican primaries as the SCOTUS Citizens United decision. It has, in no uncertain terms, corrupted the political process. Demos undertook a study to find out where the money came from, who it went to, and how much of it was completely secret. That study can be found here. Amoung other findings:
“Super PACs raised about $181 million in the last two years — with roughly half of it coming from fewer than 200 super-rich people.”
The study also found that 93% of the itemized contributions raised by super PACs came in contributions of $10,000 or more, with more than half of this money coming from just 37 people who each gave $500,000 or more. Source
Amazing, isn't it?
The original intent of banning corporate contributions dates back more than 100 years, when the robber barons used to control things. Back then:
Montana voters supported the state's law against corporate spending in local politics in 1912, when copper barons and mining interests dominated the state. Montana lawmakers, who at that time appointed the state's two U.S. senators, received kickbacks, and judges were bribed.
That Montana law against corporation contributions stood until last Friday, when SCOTUS put it on hold. There was a suit against Montana from some companies that want to influence elections that made it all the way to the Supremes, who basically put a “temporary hold” on the Montana law until they decide whether to accept the full case or outright overturn Montana law based on Citizens United.
More after the jump.
Remember that Citizens United allowed corporate spending because it did not cause corruption, nor the APPEARANCE of corruption. Um, the Supremes majority was WRONG on both counts. Two justices agree with that assessment.
In Friday’s order, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer said the upheaval in the world of campaign finance since the Citizens United decision does not bear out the majority opinion.
“Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,’ ” Ginsburg wrote.
“A petition for certiorari [from those challenging the Montana court’s decision] will give the court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.” Source.
Look no further than Florida to see the impact of huge Superpac funding changing the outcome of the election. Had Mittens secret donors not flooded the airwaves in Florida, there's a high probability that Newton Leroy would have won. (Especially if he'd held it together during the debates.)
In a land where the right screams about deficits, deficits, deficits above all else, think what it would mean if those people so rich they can write multimillion dollar checks for candidate advertising instead paid taxes at the pre-Shrub tax cut rates. The deficit would be smaller, they wouldn't notice the money out of their pockets, and this would be a better country for it. I don't know how rank and file Republicans feel about things, I can't even imagine thinking or feeling like them, but I'm betting they're pissed that a candidate they don't want is being pushed down their throats by corporate interests.
Want to do something as we wait this out? Sign Senator Sander's petition for a Constitutional amendment against corporate financial influence in elections. It reads, in part:
The Saving American Democracy Amendment states that:
- Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.
- Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.
- Corporations may not make campaign contributions or any election expenditures.
- Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.
We at DCW feel so strongly about it that a link to the petition is on the bottom of every page. Please sign, please tell your friends. This is America….I read somewhere that it is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. I don't remember seeing the word “corporation” in that document.