Campaign Finance (Citizens United) case

I’ve read a bit about this lately, and in particular on digby’s and apparently it was on Colbert Report the other night.

COLBERT: Now when I ran for President in 2008, as the Hail to the Cheese Doritos Stephen Colbert campaign for President, I was told that I actually couldn’t do that, that I was breaking federal election law by being sponsored by that corporation. But if this goes through, if this court case, if they win, does that mean that I retroactively won the election?

TOOBIN: I don’t think it means that.

COLBERT: But could you do that? Could I actually just wear a NASCAR suit and just have logos all over me and run for President as the sort of Gatorade Thirst for Justice campaign for President?

TOOBIN: You definitely could. No question.

COLBERT: What does it mean to individual donation? A corporation, as a person, gets to give any amount of money, but I as a person can give only $2,500.

TOOBIN: That’s what’s potentially the next legal challenge. Because if giving money is a form of speech, as the Court has held at various times, you can’t prohibit a company from giving money. And then presumably the next step would be that you couldn’t have limits on how much individuals could give either. That’s the potential implication of this decision.

Colbert is a satirist, but I assume here that the responses are true. So money now equals to political speech (through how speech is transmitted in modern society)? I’m on my break now so I don’t have much time, but if this is true, and if the justices go the way they’re expected to, is this something to worry about? Because on the one hand, moneyed interests already have the government in its pockets, but on the other hand, this would, in my mind, almost make it a monopoly situation.
Any other good sources?

I think there’s a certain reflexivity lacking in their suggested equivalence. A “five dollar word” is just an expression.

In the US money has equaled speech for a long time. I honestly believe it’s the root of all the problems in the US political system. The government, regardless of who’s elected, is bought by the corporations as individuals can’t possibly hope to have the same buying power and are actually legally limited in their buying power. The US government is now for the corporations, not the people.

I was telling my students 20 years ago or more that we would see a day in the US when Senators and Congressman would no longer be from just states, but you would see things like “The Senator from Microsoft” etc.

This is just one step closer…the US is in many ways a corporate oligarchy. Not as bad as Russia is, but not that dissimilar. We just tend to disguise it better.

It already happened a long time ago…

Long long time ago, you mean?


“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

Things were a lot worse in the 19th century; “the Senator from Standard Oil” was a common phrase.

My beef with the campaign finance laws is that newspapers, magazines, and TV can give editorialials and such right up to the election while the average citizen is barred for paying for ads and such of a political nature during that same run-up. I’d prefer everyone be able to have their say through whatever means they have available to them when possible.

The rest of the population that doesn’t happen to own a radio, newspaper, magazine or TV station end up with very limited options because of these laws. They can’t even take out an ad elsewhere to express their view once the election gets close enough.

I’m not sure why it’s okay for FOX New’s Hannity or MSNBC’s Keith Obermann to talk about whatever they want on TV while the rest of us are somehow given second class status.

It’s still a limited set of the population that can afford to take out ads on primetime TV, heck or even regional papers. The solution you’re looking for is printing your own paper or pamphlet, or starting a website, political group, and promoting it. You know, starting your own grassroots movement. Ron Paul supporters were able to generate plenty of interest, even though mainstream sources considered him a joke, often by punking those very sources’ online polls.

Cable-only news networks are effectively in their own special class (you pay for them to come into your house, they don’t use publically owned property mostly) where they can do largely whatever they want. They’re not using public airwaves, so a different set of standards apply to them, if I’m recalling all this correctly; unlike broadcast you’re paying to have political candidates sold to you. I don’t know all the details of newspaper political speech regulation.

As to being banned from advertising near the election, you can do it if you’re not a corporation or union. All this meant was that the ads shuffled over to 527s, which are a slightly different form of the same thing. Also note that only applies to broadcast, which again gets back to public airwaves vs. not. And apparently the SC gutted it in 2007 regardless.

The newly created independent political groups known as super PACs, which raised and spent millions of dollars on last month’s elections, drew much of their funding from private-equity partners and others in the financial industry, according to new financial disclosure reports.

The 72 super PACs, all formed this year, together spent $83.7 million on the election. The figures provide the best indication yet of the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions that opened the door for wealthy individuals and corporations to give unlimited contributions.

Again, the only campaign finance reform that could change things in any substantive way, IMO, is all candidates get exactly the same amount of money and can spend no more, and it comes from a public pool. That doesn’t fix the ability of companies and unions and the like being able to run their own ads - not sure how to level the field on that - but it’s a step.

We somehow need to be able to put a wall between the big money and the Congress person’s pocket.

Don’t allow orgnizations to fund political commercials. This is hard when they’re considered citizens and have free speech, but that’s just fucked to begin with.

We somehow need to be able to put a wall between the big money and the Congress person’s pocket.

Yep, good luck as the politicians are the only ones who can build that wall.

I love the term Political Action Committee. It sounds like a group that sponsors commissars.

Why shouldnt a group of people be allowed to pool their money together and advocate for things and politicians they believe in?

It leads to a massive bias towards money and corruption in politics?

But if you stop ppl from pooling their money to fund advocacy, that would mean only rich ppl would beable to afford to fund advocacy, right?

So then only people who are rich enough to do it on their own without an organization get a voice? Unless you want to ban anyone from being able to spend any money on political commericals.

There’s an uncomfortable tradeoff no matter what option you choose. I have no answers.