Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
If 527 committee (read: politically inclined special interest group/PAC) Speech Now gets its way in the US District Court of DC – arguments start today – they will be able to spend willy-nilly from their coffers to back a specific candidate in direct cooperation with that candidate. No big deal right? This kind of thing happens all the time.
Yes, and no.
Currently, Speech Now is allowed (U.S.C. 431(4)) to make donations to candidates and collect personal donations up to $1000 without having to report themselves as a “political committee”.
But, What Speech Now, citing their right to free association, has asked the court to do in their case against the FEC would fundamentally change spending caps and the rules already in place. If the US District Court finds the FEC’s contribution limits, reporting and political registration requirements unconstitutional that would mean, well, Katie bar the door!
Swift Boat Vets:
That Move On number bogged down our congress by leading to bizarre legislation condemning the ad.
That’s what I want. Our legislators doing even less important work, wasting their time on even more frivolous resolutions. Another side effect of corporate personhood/potential PAC personhood.
Representative Grayson (D) Fla., is once again leading the progressive charge on matters of campaign finance. I got this in an email blast late yesterday:
Unlike you and me, corporations don’t eat, drink, get married, vote, orbathe. And they never sleep. Which is why they have already launched another attack on our democracy, due to hit ground zero tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27, at 9:30 a.m.
Last week, it was the Citizens United case. That case not only permits unlimited campaign spending by huge multinational corporations, but it also says that any law to curb such spending is a violation of those corporations’ “constitutional rights.”
Now, it’s the SpeechNow case. This new case would extend the newfound “rights” of multinational corporations to billionaires. Yes, the SpeechNow case would give billionaires the “constitutional right” to pollute political campaigns to any degree that they see fit.
Grayson’s email touches on many concerns, the least of which are the bathing habits of corporations. Especially horrifying is his claim that billionaires will now have the right to “pollute” our political campaigns.
I agree but would argue they already do.
Enter the almighty disclosure of donors requirement. If I donate over $200 to any political campaign, I have to give them my name and address. The political organization would then have to add me to a list of donors they turn over to the FEC.
The District Court has already said these measures — limiting contributions and reporting donations — are essential to keeping our elections (less) corrupt. Although that filthy bird has already flown the coop, declaring regulation unconstitutional would make Speech Now [and potentially ALL 527s] :
“uniquely positioned to serve as conduits for corruption both in terms of the sale of access and the circumvention of the soft money ban.1”
Sale of access. I don’t like the sounds of that. Again, we all know this goes on now, within a framework of tax code loopholes and back room dealings, let alone the fact that 527s are already able to donate to anyone they wish — up to a point.
We are heading toward a country where I am going to have to join a PAC in order participate in our democracy. Which of course, isn’t democracy at all. We are one person one vote — even if only in theory these days. Cases like Speech Now and last week’s Citizen’s United SCOTUS ruling is deteriorating the little guys voice. My voice, and in all likelihood, your voice.
I have presented this Straw-man to several conservative republican friends. Yes, we do mix and mingle — because we try to focus on what we have in common. With some, all we share is our love of coffee, but anyplace is a good start.
What I am finding in my unscientific polling is that my friends conservative values, their disgust with big government in any form, their hatred of pork, their support of McCain-Feingold, has suddenly been jettisoned.
Why is this? Because they are buying the argument that this is really about Freedom of Speech. It isn’t. The SCOTUS ruling last week in favor of balls-to-the-wall spending for corporations — victory for free speech! Corporations are people too! One of my conservative friends went so far as to say that he leans toward the idea of money = free speech. Eek. If that is the case, I am in serious trouble.
Sources, reading, information: