Campaign Finance Reform
Campaign Finance Reform - Tuesday, May 6, 2014 7:50 - 0 Comments
For those who believe that “money” really is “the root of all evil,” they are going to get an opportunity to test that theory during the months between now and November. We will see huge amounts of money being put into political races during that span of time. The floodgates have been opened by the U.S. Supreme Court and the money will start to pour in. On April 3, the high court removed another limit on election spending when the justices voted 5-4 to remove the cap on the total amount any individual can contribute to federal campaigns in a two-year election cycle. This follows the 2010 decision in Citizens United that eliminated limits on independent campaign spending by huge corporations. If I told you that decision granted constitutional rights to corporations – lifeless structures – run by humans, would you believe it?
Essentially, this new ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission means that a single donor can make huge financial donations in “limited contributions” to political parties, individual candidates, and political action committees (PACs). Those in favor of the ruling say the change upholds donors’ First Amendment right to Free Speech by allowing them to support as many candidates as they feel share their views, literally putting their money where their mouth is. But the voices of ordinary citizens in elections have been pretty well neutralized if not eliminated.
Supporters point out the ruling affects aggregate limits and not base limits on contributions from individuals to candidates. Base limits currently hold individual contributions to $2,600 per candidate, per election; $32,400 to political party committees per year; and $5,000 per PAC per year.
But the ruling did say that overall limits of $48,600 by individuals every two years for contributions to all federal candidates violated the First Amendment. The ruling also says separate aggregate limits on contributions to political party committees, currently capped at $74,600, also violate the First Amendment.
Those in opposition to the decision, which include this writer, say this decision essentially dismantles campaign finance laws and undermines political equality. Political power is put in the hands of the select few people with all of the money. I totally agree with that view. We should be doing everything possible to reduce wild and uncontrolled spending in political races. Instead we are turning the keys to government over to the super rich and powerful. In an excellent and well-reasoned dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote:
It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign. . . . Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.
Public Citizen, the Consumer Advocacy Group, has fought hard for reasonable campaign finance reform in Congress. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, had harsh words for the ruling. He predicts a dire outcome in the political arena. In a statement, Weissman said:
This is truly a decision establishing plutocrat rights. The Supreme Court today holds that the purported right of a few hundred superrich individuals to spend outrageously large sums on campaign contributions outweighs the national interest in political equality and a government free of corruption.
The case was brought by an Alabama businessman, Shaun McCutcheon, who challenged the aggregate contribution limits. McCutcheon, who had the strong backing of the Republican National Committee, argued the limits violated his First Amendment rights and served no anti-corruption role.
The majority opinion was penned by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia. The dissent was written by Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The ruling comes at the start of the election cycle, which is perfect timing for those with deep pockets and selective political needs in Washington. Should we just go ahead and hang out the “For Sale” signs on the lawns of the congressional buildings, the national Capitol building, and the White House? What do you think?
Sources: New York Times, Huffington Post, ABC News
- Secret Corporate Politicking Must Be Curtailed
- It is time to change the way elections are financed
- The need for reform in Alabama is great
- Reform is badly needed on the national level
- Nothing to Report This Month
- U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to North Carolina’s campaign finance law
- Chambers of Commerce financed unsuccessful GOP candidates
- Wait until next year
- Needs for next year
- Alabama gets failing grade on campaign finance disclosure
- Nothing to report
- A Very Brief Report That Has Little To Offer
- Federal Appeals Court Says Campaign Finance Rules To Weak
- ExxonMobil Spent Nearly $3.1 Million Lobbying In The First Quarter
- Pharmaceutical Companies Spend Big Bucks
- Continental Recalls 8,070 Motorcycle Tires
- Deepwater Horizon Economic Settlement Program Trying to Make Up for Lost Time
- A Report On A Deadly Chemical Leak At A Site In Texas
- Korean Automakers Hyundai And Kia Agree To Record U.S. Settlement For Mileage Fraud
- General Motors Is Sued By Arizona For $3 Billion Over Recalls
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against General Motors
- NHTSA Probes Honda Accord Power Steering Issues
- NHTSA Fines Ferrari $3.5 Million Over Safety Reports
- AutoNation Halts Sales Of Used Cars In Air Bag Recalls
- Audi Air Bags May Not Fire When Ready
- Honda Repair Deal In Faulty Side Air Bag Class Action
- Honda Failed To Report 1,729 Deaths And Injuries Since 2003
- Obama Nominates Mark Rosekind To Lead NHTSA
- NHTSA Probes Honda’s Reporting Of Defective Air Bags
- The judge approved the settlement. Now it's up to DG issuing checks, etc. We'r...
- i signed a lot of paperwork back in 2010 ....
need to change address from. ...
- Dear Sir: i am about to take a case against VW to a Federal Court Jury trial in ...
- 2004 350 6.0 Powerstrike diesel Navistar engine. PLEASE advise on how to be par...
- This recall is a night mare. One week after purchasing new tires back in August...
- We recently lost our home to foreclosure by Flagstar. After months of applying ...
- Safety starts at the top of an organization. This takes management commitment, w...
- I also lost my home to foreclosure due to Flagstar's failure to process my reque...