Campaign Finance (Citizens United) case

Get out of P&R now, pussy.

thats why the state needs to pay politicians and parties that run for office

Sure, but people with the money to do it are still going to spend money advocating the candidate that they like, and that is still going to have an effect on the outcome of elections. Probably a larger effect than anything that comes out of Federal funding, because when you have 300 million individuals vs. one government, there’s no real contest as to where the vast majority of the wealth is going to lie. The only way to put a stop to it is to have federally-funded campaigns AND outlaw private political advocacy. That would probably require a repeal of the First Amendment, though.

That’s campaign finance reform in a nutshell. I don’t have any answers either, unfortunately.

Yeah, the ubiquity of the concept of outside group advocacy and the size of the infrastructure for outside group advocacy make campaign finance reform pretty meaningless. This sucks, as I strongly feel that money has a corrosive effect on politics but the genie is well out of the bottle by now. To some degree, it’s a problem of the scale of our society. Also, our winner take all first passed the post system contributes to the power of money. But we are way past the point of no return IMO. At this point, I don’t see any effective way of lessening the impact of money on politics.

If you cap individual contributions, the money flows through party donations, “soft” money, and end-arounds like the one that Tom Delay used (he is notable for being caught, not for attempting what he did). If you decide that capping contributions is useless b/c of the above and manage to convince the Supreme Court to overturn 35 years of precedent and allow spending caps, then the money would flow through non-campaign “issue” groups or other “outside advocacy” groups. Even without active coordination with campaigns, the impact of money would still be felt.

Money is a massive influence on our political system and that’s not going to change. I think reform minded individuals have to give up on putting the toothpaste back into the tube and instead try to work with what we have. More public airtime for substantive discussions of issues maybe? (Of course, if no one watched…) Putting a lot more teeth into anti-quid-pro-quo laws? I don’t have good answers either. I just know what won’t work :O.

Some way to effectively give candidates a public forum for debate would help, I think; especially with a moderator who excoriates attempts to dodge the question or employ logical fallacies.

You could even add some financial teeth to it; all candidates required to participate in at least three. Any question-dodging, empirically false answers, or logical fallacies results in a chunk of your money going into the prize pool, and the winner (who is the one who dodges the fewest questions and commits the fewest formal-logic fallacies) is the one who gets the pool at the end.

As long as the possibility exists for politicians to be corrupted by lobbyists after being elected, campaign reform even if effective won’t solve the problem of big money controlling (and even directly creating) policy.

If the revolving door spins it will be used.

You need Paxman.

Zombie tangent! I always thought it was a “long long time ago”, as well. I blame weird al.

Yeah, Paxman and Stewart should combine forces to be the moderators for my proposed debates.

Ahem, my proposed theocracy would suffer from exactly zero of the problems which now confront you. I think a much more fair solution would be to just record the Congressman at all times. We could remove the bathroom parts, but only after they have been vetted. These are the people who think that the government should be able to go through our most personal records on a whim, so turnabout is fairplay. Just twenty four seven video of someone the whole time they are in office. That way, you can watch them not reading the studies that they say they read, you can watch them golfing instead of actually being at the presentation on “Long Haul Trucking and You” which for some reason happens to be in the Azores this year, even though everyone knows they had the most fun when it was in Scotland.

Of course, the downside to this idea would be if either actors or generally deceitful individuals became involved in the political process, and then the security footage of your congressman would turn into more political ads, albeit in a cinema duplicite, where the congressman OR WOMAN, unwittingly stumbles on to a scene where the Chief Financial Officer of State Farm Insurance is using Go-gurt to thwart an Environmentalist plot.

Well, SCOTUS just struck down any donor caps. 5-4, again. Apparently, limiting maximum donations to $74,600 per year wasn’t fair to the common man.

Agreed. Freedom of speech is the most important thing in the world. Excuse me while I go pay a large amount of money to get a permit for assembly on public grounds to protest - er, “support” this ruling.

Hey, everybody is entitled to their own megaphones. The fact most folks are lucky if they can afford a paper-towel tube while a handful of others can splurge on a 100,000-watt PA system isn’t the Supreme Court’s fault!

“I guess they just got-” *dons sunglasses “-served.”

My guess, then, is that we still need to shower lots and lots of money on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Preferably from a cargo plane.
Ideally in rolls of pennies.

P.S.: I still demand the collapse of the United States.

Might I ask why?

Because of the pressure you (the U.S., I mean) are placing on the rest of the world for whatever collective stupidity you are currently engaged into. The Harperification of this country is possible because Bush happened. If you were, say, Suriname, I’d say, stupidize away all you want. But no, when it’s from you, it’s like an epidemic, there’s no stopping it at the border. How the hell can you keep decent wages and working conditions if south of the border is always ready to lower them some more and bring in some “right-to-work” (ha) legislations? And I don’t think you can reform your institutions. It’s impossible. There’s too much money at stake for meaningful reform to happen. Remember how Obama the saviour of 2008 became the guy to talk about “opportunity” when it was clear he couldn’t do anything. (If the other side is blocking you, you need to tell them to f*** off, not try to compromise.) Remember how your plans to reform health care ended up with a plan where people have to buy insurance or face a fine while leaving the people with insurance through their employer at risk from whatever bigotry their employer is into (like that Hobby Lobby case). No, what’s needed is for you to become so irretrievably f*****-up that even the importers and foreign imitators won’t go near whatever you did. That’s why.

Because small people are threatened and jealous of the success of others.

Fighting income inequality and plutocracy is going to be the defining issue of this century, just like fighting fascism and communism was the defining issue of the 20th.

Is bumping really old threads frowned upon? (I’m lacking the finer points of internet etiquette.)

Since IANAL and my opinions on money <> speech are worth as much as my opinion (for the record, the constitution does not protect your right to spend as much money as you want on a political candidate or party; speech defined as money is a construct of the “corporations are people” logic started by Powell in the early 70’s and now championed by the Roberts court that has lead to in my view negative and damaging decisions vis a vis democracy and individual rights vs corporate rights (and whew how’s that for a caveat?) I thought I’d put this link here instead of the Donald is Stupid thread:

In short, thanks to the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence, a tiny sliver of Americans now wield more power than at any time since Watergate, while many of the rest seem to be disengaging from politics. This is perhaps the most troubling result of Citizens United: in a time of historic wealth inequality, the decision has helped reinforce the growing sense that our democracy primarily serves the interests of the wealthy few, and that democratic participation for the vast majority of citizens is of relatively little value

Citizens United also has resulted in at least three other disturbing trends (none acknowledged by the Court):

A tidal wave of dark money: In striking down limits on corporate spending, the Court extoled disclosure as a remaining safeguard: “With the advent of the Internet,” it proclaimed, “prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable.”[iv] The truth, however, is that Citizens United has enabled election spending by a variety of “dark money” groups who do not disclose their donors, and who have spent more than $600 million on federal elections to date.

Weakening of contribution limits: The Court said that it was only eliminating limits on “independent” election spending, which in its view raises no corruption concerns. It purported to leave another pillar of campaign finance regulation, limits on direct contributions to candidates and political parties, untouched. In reality, though, the post-Citizens United era has seen rampant collaboration between outside (i.e. non-candidate, non-party) groups and candidates, along with broader efforts to roll back contribution limits altogether.

Trampling of shareholder and employee rights: The Court suggested that disclosure would be sufficient to ensure that nobody — especially corporate shareholders — would be forced to subsidize speech with which they disagree. But shareholders are often kept in the dark about corporate spending, and there are troubling reports of at least a few corporations (and unions) trying to impose their political views on employees and even coerce them into participating in political speech.

I think it’s a pretty relevant thread to bump.

The problem with Citizens United is that it will effectively take an Amendment to undo it and that’s basically impossible. The best one can realistically hope for it for the Court to narrow it’s ruling down a bit. Even Scalia wasn’t thrilled with how it turned out and he’s said that while you can contribute whatever you want, you should also be on record for doing so. So if Company A wants to support Candidate X, that’s fine, but they shouldn’t be able to do it through a maze of PACs that hide the fact that they’re doing it.

Also straight up bribery becomes a serious issue (and one could argue always was). Where is the line for bribery? The Founding Fathers obviously didn’t consider the First Amendment to equate to a free-for-all on bribing officials, since they specifically mention it as a “high crime” along with treason in the impeachment process. I think, if anything, that’s where one could expect some movement: what constitutes bribery and more transparency for where money is coming from. Anything else is likely to require an Amendment.