Thursday, January 21, 2010

Corporate $tate$ of America? SCOTUS Opens the Door

Thanks, Supremes! Just when we need the big multinationals to finally take control of everything...

The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.

The court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns and threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

We're fucked. From Justice Stevens' dissent (full decision PDF here):

In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant.Although they make enormous contributions to our society,
corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests mayconflict in fundamental respects with the interests ofeligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure,and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.

Wonderful. So the big corporate interests can stop pretending and just buy politicians outright? I guess this just means all the rest of the country will soon be looking like Nevada?

Yep, we're fucked. After all, who would want sensible clean money reforms when we can become a corporate aristocracy!

1 comment:

  1. It's not just a right-wing conspiracy, and grift is not a one-way street. Because of this ruling, large unions will also be pouring more money than before into Democratic campaigns.

    Regardless, it's still a defeat for those who wanted publicly-funded elections with no special interests on either side.