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1/23/2010
WHAT’S ALL THE HUB-BUB ABOUT CAMPAIGN FINANCE?

Wow, the Citizen’s United decision seems to have unhinged a whole bunch of people who claim membership in a “reality based” community. The fact is, I can’t for the life of me figure out what everyone is so upset about.

Am I missing something here Keith?

Today, the Supreme Court, of Chief Justice John Roberts, in a decision that might actually have more dire implications than “Dred Scott v Sandford,” declared that because of the alchemy of its 19th Century predecessors in deciding that corporations had all the rights of people, any restrictions on how these corporate-beings spend their money on political advertising, are unconstitutional.

In short, the first amendment — free speech for persons — which went into affect in 1791, applies to corporations, which were not recognized as the equivalents of persons until 1886. In short, there are now no checks on the ability of corporations or unions or other giant aggregations of power to decide our elections.

None. They can spend all the money they want. And if they can spend all the money they want — sooner, rather than later — they will implant the legislators of their choice in every office from President to head of the Visiting Nurse Service.

This quote was after 500 turgid words trying to explain why Dred Scott was the worst Supreme Court decision evah, and the Chief Justice at the time, Robert Tawney, the 19th century equivalent of Olby’s popular segment “Worst person in the world.” This may indeed be true; but equating the Citizen’s United decision with Dred Scott?

(”Legislators” in the Visiting Nurse Service office? Does anyone read what he writes before he says it on air? Obviously not.)

It gets worse:

It is almost literally true that any political science fiction nightmare you can now dream up, no matter whether you are conservative or liberal, it is now legal. Because the people who can make it legal, can now be entirely bought and sold, no actual citizens required in the campaign-fund-raising process.

And the entirely bought and sold politicians, can change any laws. And any legal defense you can structure now, can be undone by the politicians who will be bought and sold into office this November, or two years from now.

And any legal defense which honest politicians can somehow wedge up against them this November, or two years from now, can be undone by the next even larger set of politicians who will be bought and sold into office in 2014, or 2016, or 2018.

Good thing the above scenario is only “almost literally true.” Had me worried for a minute.

But here’s a question for Keith and the rest of the hyperbolic left who have been falling all over themselves trying to outdo one another in the outrage quotient of their screeds condemning this decision:

Were politicians less beholden to corporate and union interests between 2002-2010 when McCain-Feingold was the law of the land than they were prior to 2002 when the exact same rules will now apply again? Anyone who answers yes, please go back to sleep.

The facts are a little more prosaic:

While the Court held that the ban on corporate political speech is unconstitutional, it did uphold the disclaimer and disclosure requirements. Also, corporate contributions to candidates, national party committees, and the hard money accounts of state and local party committee are still prohibited.

No direct contributions to candidates or parties by corporations, with full disclosure in the ad regarding who or what is sponsoring it. Olbermann’s massively overemoted diatribe is nonsense - unless you believe, as I point out above, that McCain-Feingold actually lessened the influence of corporations and unions on the electoral process.

Many on the left are trying to make the point that corporations are not “people” and therefore, do not enjoy any free speech protections. This is a novel idea. It presumes that non-humans run the companies, work for them, and invest in them. It also presumes that these same non-humans have no interest in democracy, and are uncaring of who might want to regulate them, and legislate for or against their interests. The left evidently believes that the non-people who work for corporations should be at the total mercy of politicians with no ability to influence the outcome of electoral contests where the sub-human’s vital interests are involved.

Why stop with preventing them from speaking out? Why not just take away the right to vote of these non-people too? I see no logical reason why this shouldn’t be the ultimate goal of those who seek to silence corporations and unions whose members, employees, and shareholders have a vital stake in who makes the laws that govern their life and death.

Politicians will be no more beholden to special interests than they are now - which is to say, it’s hard to exaggerate how beholden most members are to corporations and unions prior to the Citizen’s United decision. Corporations and unions will not be able to buy any more access to Members of Congress than they currently enjoy - largely because that access is at Max Q now.

McCain-Feingold - as all previous efforts to “reform” campaign finance laws - only made the situation worse. Every single effort since the 1970’s to remove the influence of corporations and Big Labor from campaigns has only made lawyers versed in campaign finance law rich, and has not achieved even a modicum of success in eliminating the supposed dastardly influence of large institutions on the electoral process.

It is heartening that the Supreme Court continues to recognize political donations as an important form of free speech. And I consider it a triumph for the First Amendment that they also recognize that organizations made up of individuals have a right to participate in the electoral process and make their voices heard.

The problem, I gather, is that these issue committees that will be funded by unions and corporations are wont to make devastatingly effective ads that skewer their opponent. Their very success is a detriment. It is perceived to be unfair by some to highlight an idiotic position taken by a politician, or a vote for an unpopular piece of legislation, or even that his brother in law consorts with criminals.

No - they will not be the most edifying ads, that’s for sure. But they will be protected speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment. And, as Matt Welch asks, “What’s Worse, “Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment,” or Burning it?” Putting up with speech we disagree with from people we abhor is as American as apple pie.

At least, that’s what we’ve been told by those who have been chewing the carpet over the Citizens United decision.

By: Rick Moran at 11:40 am
51 Responses to “WHAT’S ALL THE HUB-BUB ABOUT CAMPAIGN FINANCE?”
  1. 1
    Jim Said:
    11:59 am 

    Hi Rick

    President Obama’s election campaign essentially destroyed campaign finance reform in this country and there was nary a peep out of these usual suspects. Despite the fact that Democrats had championed public financing of elections for 30 years. Now they are livid because they worked the current law so well. McCain-Feingold had to go and it is good that it took a “severe blow.” Now to apply the rules fairly. As I understand it McCain has to account for every penny of his campaign because he accepted public funds. President Obama faces no audit because he did not. Both the Republicans and Hillary Clinton’s people have filed allegations about numerous and very important finance violations. President Obama’s campaign finances should be audited by an independent organization to see just how much money came from Soros, Palestinian refugee camps, Kenya and other questionable or flatly illegal sources. Meanwhile, all the braying from the left about McCain-Feingold is just that, braying.

  2. 2
    B.Poster Said:
    12:15 pm 

    Apparently Mr. Olberman and others think that free speech does not apply to those who disagree with them. It only applies to them.

    I think they see the people who work for corporations or in the private sector, most private sector jobs are corporate jobs, as sub human. The only humans are those who work in government, education, or for the media and these groups are only human if they hold a leftist view point.

    In summary, corporations and labor unions have a right to defend themselves. Apparently Mr. Olberman thinks it okay for media elites to slander corporations without these groups having the right to defend themselves. Thankully it appears that corporations and the people who own them or work for them will now have this opportunity.

  3. 3
    Roberta Said:
    1:17 pm 

    I’m disappointed. I’m a liberal who reads Rick M. because his arguments are usually cogent, even if I usually don’t agree with his conclusions. But it’s disingenuous to pretend that a corporation is only the people who work for it. Before and after this decision, every individual who works for a corporation was free to use her assets to support political causes. It’s just that, now, entities with access to assets that dwarf those of individuals will be able to express their political preferences using those assets. Like letting one team in a pickup basketball game use Yao Ming as their center. Rick, if you agree with the Citizens United decision, surely you can mount a more substantive defense than this.

  4. 4
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    1:19 pm 

    Well, at least I can finally get some more of this awesomeness:

    http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2010/01/16/scott-brown-bites-the-heads-off-little-children-and-drinks-their-blood/

  5. 5
    lionheart Said:
    1:55 pm 

    Well put, Rick.

  6. 6
    michael reynolds Said:
    2:17 pm 

    This is a novel idea. It presumes that non-humans run the companies, work for them, and invest in them.

    This is utter nonsense. The people already have a vote and a right to contribute and to speak. This is purely about the corporation as a separate and distinct entity. No human’s rights were ever abrogated or in question.

    Republicans may wish to consider that US corporations are not necessarily owned or run by Americans. There are a number of Indian and Chinese CEO’s of US corporations, for example, and those gentlemen and ladies are now entitled to spend millions on ads attacking your favorite candidate. A Chinese CEO, who may have strong ties to the PRC’s Communist Party and its economic interests, can have a far greater direct influence on an American election than, say, Rick Moran.

    In fact, there’s nothing stopping any foreign national from establishing a US corporation for the sole purpose of interfering — excuse me, I mean speaking freely with millions of dollars — in American elections. That corporation is a person, you see, with free speech rights. Even if it is owned by Libya or Venezuela or Pakistan or China.

    Olbermann was hysterical, but this was a deeply stupid decision perfectly in line with a deeply stupid political party.

  7. 7
    Allen Said:
    3:44 pm 

    Corporations were previously allowed to run as many ads as they wanted up to within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election. Now they can run them any time they want. I can’t for the life of me figure out how that changes the game in any substantive manner.

    If people were so damned concerned about corporate advertising they would understand that the earlier shaping of the races is far more important, and ban them then. All the screaming is just that, an excuse to scream about something.

  8. 8
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    7:05 pm 

    Allen said:

    All the screaming is just that, an excuse to scream about something.

    It’s cute that you think that.

  9. 9
    still liberal Said:
    9:30 pm 

    Rick Moran said: “Many on the left are trying to make the point that corporations are not “people” and therefore, do not enjoy any free speech protections. This is a novel idea. It presumes that non-humans run the companies, work for them, and invest in them.”

    This is perhaps the stupidest statement you have ever made. A corporation is a legal personality, with limited rights. It is NOT the people that own it or work for it. For instance, a corporation cannot marry, vote or hold public office. It is, by definition, more limited in the legal rights than are afforded natural persons.

    Liberals (nor any thinking person of any type) think that corporate officials are subhuman because they point out that corporations are separate from the people involved in the corporation. That bizarre jump in logic is beneath your intellectual ability.

    If corporations are not separate from the people who own or work for them, then why in the hell would they exist? The legal protections afforded in incorporation are very important and limit the liability of the owners and employees. But bequeathing corporations free speech rights is foolish, destructive of many decades of legal precedent, and an unnecessary redefinition of corporations by right wing judicial activists.

  10. 10
    still liberal Said:
    9:31 pm 

    Third para, first sentence corrected as Liberals (nor any thinking person of any type) don’t think . . . .

  11. 11
    JerryS Said:
    10:05 pm 

    A few simple questions for you, Rick.

    Does/Should Samsung (South Korea, Lee Soo-bin) get a say in US politics?

    Does/Should Valero (Venezuela, Hugo Chavez) get a say in US politics?

    Does/Should Telemex (Mexico, Carlos Slim) get a say in US politics?

    How about Sumitomo, Matsui, Royal Dutch, Nokia, Toyota, British Petroleum?

    With this ruling, how do you stop them?

    The intellectual dishonesty of the ruling is actually pretty stunning. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post does a pretty good takedown today.

  12. 12
    grognard Said:
    10:08 pm 

    If a corporation is a “person” for free speech is it also a “person” in terms of the draft? In other words can corporations be drafted [nationalized] in times of national emergency? And if so who determines when we have a national emergency? It seems to me you can’t grant rights without including the duties of citizenship. On questions of war and peace I know that my decision could mean my being drafted, it should be the same for the corporation.

  13. 13
    Californicus Said:
    12:26 am 

    “Corporations and unions will not be able to buy any more access to Members of Congress than they currently enjoy - largely because that access is at Max Q now.”

    That is not a reason for the continued abuse of the Bill of Rights. What you’re saying is essentially that two wrongs do make a right.

  14. 14
    the Dragon Said:
    9:03 am 

    Really quite simple. This ruling treats “ALL” Corporations equally. IF this ruling is in error as some suggest, than the alternative is to ELIMINATE the exception for “Media” Corporations. Since IF the “Corporate” structure is the issue, IF a “Corporation” DOES NOT have Free Speech rights, IT CANNOT have Free Press rights.

    Regards,

  15. 15
    michael Said:
    9:18 am 

    i sure hope this trend does not continue, but alas i finally and whole heartedly agree with michael reynolds.
    people may work in corporations and unions, many for that matter, but they do not have equal sway nor ability to use the funds of the unions or corporations to defend their individual points of view. corporations are beholding to the ‘board’ and ceos, and unions are ‘represented’ by those at the top. a corporation and union do not vote in elections, so why should they be able to influence elections at all? fixing the symptom and not the problem…

  16. 16
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:52 am 

    Really quite simple. This ruling treats “ALL” Corporations equally. IF this ruling is in error as some suggest, than the alternative is to ELIMINATE the exception for “Media” Corporations. Since IF the “Corporate” structure is the issue, IF a “Corporation” DOES NOT have Free Speech rights, IT CANNOT have Free Press rights.

    This is the sad, silly drivel the right wing comes up with in a lame attempt to justify the fact that they’ve just corrupted the American political system even further while handing foreigners major rights in US elections.

    Dragon: the 1st amendment guarantees a free press. A free press is not paid political advertising. And the right to a free press does not rest on recognition of corporate personhood — it predates the ludicrous notion of corporate personhood.

    The effort was to curb paid political advertising. The NYT does not buy attack ads, it runs a newspaper. Of course given that one has to assume most of your news comes through the GOP’s pet network, Fox, I can understand your difficulty in understanding the notion of an independent press.

    The decision is indefensible and just more evidence — like any was needed — that all the talk of opposing judicial activism is a smokescreen for the naked political agenda of the Republican Supreme Court.

    The bottom line is that a Venezuelan oil company or Korean car company or Chinese apparel manufacturer can now run a million dollars worth of attack ads in the last three days of a campaign — too close to election for fact-checking or counterattack. That’s what your ideology has brought down on us. Thanks. Wonderfully “conservative.”

  17. 17
    the Dragon Said:
    11:30 am 

    Michael Reynolds said:”Dragon: the 1st amendment guarantees a free press. A free press is not paid political advertising. And the right to a free press does not rest on recognition of corporate personhood — it predates the ludicrous notion of corporate personhood.”

    Here is the ACTUAL VERBATIM text of add-on #1:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    After dealing with Religion, the next is dealing with Free Speech, then the press. Please show me where there is a SUPERIOR position in Rights of the Press v. Freedom of Speech.

    A Corporation is Legal business structure. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Michael Reynolds also said:” The NYT does not buy attack ads, it runs a newspaper.”
    So what? I will deal with the Washington Post, which is similar to the NY Times in both corporate structure AND it runs a newspaper. The Washington Post (a rag that has come into my house for 30+ years)does not buy attack ads, they, when in their editorial judgement it is appropriate, they are an attack ad. The Washington Post single handedly got Sen. Jim Webb elected. He won over Sen. George Allen by @7,200 votes. After the Washington Post electioneered for several months over the “macacca” comment (almost if not daily, probably close to 100 articles on the subject). They tried similar this fall against Bob McDonnell over the thesis issue) I am sure you see that as news coverage (how convenient).

    Unlike your position, I am for MORE free speech rather than quashing free speech I do not like. I do reject limiting the free speech of some to the benefit of others.

    Bottom line, IF it is the Corporation that is offensive, then ALL Corporations are offensive.

    Regards,

  18. 18
    Andy Said:
    11:38 am 

    Michael,

    The problem is where do you draw the line? Unless you are willing to go so far as to outlaw political money from anyone but individuals, there are going to be organizations made up of like-minded people who wish to use their collective influence (financial or otherwise) to protect their interests. I don’t see how one can legitimately carve out exceptions.

  19. 19
    JerryS Said:
    12:00 pm 

    Andy -

    The same question I asked of Rick, or any other supporters…

    How do you keep American subsidiaries of Foregin Corporations out of our political system now?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

  20. 20
    the Dragon Said:
    12:33 pm 

    JerryS,

    Disclosure. The disclosure requirements were not changed.

    Regards,

  21. 21
    JerryS Said:
    12:48 pm 

    Dragon -

    So Valero puts in 500 million dollars into a campaign, and discloses it. Do you want a foreign company putting in $500 million in a US Presidential campaign?

    How does disclosure keep them from getting involved? And is the idea of foreign companies involved in our political process something that we should encourage.

    Disclosure does nothing to answer my question.

  22. 22
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:54 pm 

    Dragon:

    This is nonsense and you know it. We have more than two centuries of a free press. Those rights could not be dependent on a finding that corporations are persons because corporate personhood came after, not before. A thing can not be a result if it came before, not without rewriting the laws of physics.

    This is a red herring. Propaganda designed to conceal a blunder of huge dimensions. No constitutional scholar of any respectability buys it.

    As for “disclosure” that’s absurdly naive.

    Let’s say the governor of Tennessee wants to grant a tax break to Ford to build a plant in his state and is up for re-election, leading by three points. His opponent opposes the tax break. Fair enough? A realistic scenario, no?

    But Hyundai doesn’t much like that idea. They don’t want Ford competing for workers and they don’t want Ford to be able to quickly ramp up production of their new SUV.

    So three days before the election Hyundai makes a five million dollar media buy — every minute of air time it can find — and runs an attack ad claiming the governor has taken bribes from Ford.

    Your disclosure accomplishes nothing. The lie is out there and in such volume that countervailing truths are drowned out.

    Orders sent from South Korea to an American subsidiary decide an American election. And Hyundai, having done a cost benefit analysis, concludes that the possible resentment of some portion of TN voters is manageable.

  23. 23
    the Dragon Said:
    1:01 pm 

    JerryS,

    I guess Valero with @21,000 employees and @5,800 business locations is a Foreign Corporation. Doing business in 44 states, I can see how there few local issues that might matter.

    IF the $500 mil number is supposed to scare me, IF disclosed, not much. How much hay can be made by making an issue can be made of Valero trying to buy an election.

    One other thing is, and I don’t know the actual wording of the statute, is it only Corporations as opposed to LLC’s, LLP’s, and Partnerships. The 527 entities are Corporations, which also have exemptions to the Campaign finance rules.

    Regards,

  24. 24
    the Dragon Said:
    1:06 pm 

    Michael Reynolds said:”Dragon:…This is nonsense and you know it. We have more than two centuries of a free press. Those rights could not be dependent on a finding that corporations are persons because corporate personhood came after, not before.”

    Michael,

    There was a time 233 years ago when we ALSO had Freedom of Speech. I do realize that Freedom of the Press paramount, freedom of speech you disagree with…not so much.

    Regards,

  25. 25
    the Dragon Said:
    1:17 pm 

    Michael Reynolds & JerryS,

    It seems that you are worried about the Large Corporations, There’s the Fortune 500, I suspect there are 500 “Corporations” within 3 miles of where I type.

    I have a client which is a Temp Agency, surrently a LLC, so not sure these rules apply, but for concepts sake, I’ll presume they do.

    The Local Congressman is strongly pro-Obamacare. The owner of the temp agency is actually a heavy Democrat, but due to the nature of the Temp Agency business, has had pre-2009 a $2 mil payroll, this year @$1.3 mil. The proposed payroll tax of 8% of those businesses who do not offer health care to employees, would have been @$160,000 in previous years, and @100,000 in 2009. In a business which has had a net profit of @125,000 in previous years, and will be @$50,000 in 2009, this puts them out of business. AND, being an EVIL Corporation you folks despise, they would be prohibited from challenging the Congressmen. Makes sense to me.

    Of Course there is a Foreign connection, the owner celebrates her Irish heritage, even though she was born in Upstate NY.

    Regards,

  26. 26
    JerryS Said:
    1:31 pm 

    Dragon -

    Bullshit. Your client can donate any amount she wants to anyone she wants as an individual.

    Your example is total and utter bullshit. And the fact that you used such a bullshit example shows the lack of depth to your argument.

  27. 27
    michael reynolds Said:
    2:50 pm 

    Dragon:

    I guess Valero with @21,000 employees and @5,800 business locations is a Foreign Corporation. Doing business in 44 states, I can see how there few local issues that might matter.

    And who runs Valero in the final analysis? Hugo Chavez.

    So for the record you have no objection to Hugo Chavez ordering a million dollars worth of hit ads on your favorite candidates.

    Okay. That’s certainly a point of view.

  28. 28
    the Dragon Said:
    3:04 pm 

    michael reynolds,

    Actually, IF there is disclosure, I don’t care if Hugo Chavez or George Soros spend billions. AND both are very likely to be against my point of view.

    They already get plenty of favorable free press.

    Regards,

  29. 29
    Andy Said:
    3:14 pm 

    Michael Reynolds,

    You’re not considering the wider political picture.

    1. There is the press which should be providing context and analysis. Once it comes out that this attack ad is funded by foreign interests, then the game is up.

    2. No political candidate wants to be seen as a lackey of foreign corporate interests. So let’s say Norinco sends a huge check to presidential candidate Smedley. Candidate Smedley, if he/she is smart, is going to refuse the money. Say Norinco then buys a bunch of ads supporting candidate Smedley anyway. Well that would be the kiss of death because Smedley’s opponent would use that against them.

    3. Mass media is increasingly irrelevant. Those huge ad buys aren’t going to have nearly as much impact today and going into the future. They are easily fact-checked and the voting population is getting more of their information from the internet than TV anyway. And even for those of us who still watch TV, many TIVO the commercials away.

    In short, you seem to be taking a worse-case look at this as well as failing to consider any of the corrective measures and mitigating factors that exist.

  30. 30
    michael reynolds Said:
    3:19 pm 

    Republicans invite foreign corporations to influence American elections.

    It’s fun how no matter how low my opinion of the GOP sinks, they manage to sink even lower. I’ve discovered perpetual motion: chasing the falling intellectual and moral stock of Republicans.

  31. 31
    the Dragon Said:
    3:27 pm 

    michael reynolds,

    Nice take…Democrats are not so hot on Free Speech. To Democrats, Free Speech=Agree with us or we will shut you up.

    Regards,

  32. 32
    JerryS Said:
    3:29 pm 

    Andy -

    What if Norinco creates a subsidiary, then another subsidiary, then another subsidiary in order to avoid the “foreign” company label.

    A perfect example was Universal Studios several years ago when they were owned by Mashusita. How many people realized/knew that Universal Studios (with it’s movies, theme parks, and all-american flavor) was owned by a Japanese Conglomerate?

    Do you really think ABC, CNN, Fox, MSNBC will do the work of telling people which company is behind the company which is behind the company which is behind the attack ad?

    Seriously?

    If so, you’re insane.

  33. 33
    the Dragon Said:
    3:30 pm 

    Last post should say Liberals rather than Democrats.

    Regards,

  34. 34
    michael reynolds Said:
    3:33 pm 

    Andy:

    There is the press which should be providing context and analysis. Once it comes out that this attack ad is funded by foreign interests, then the game is up.

    Ad campaign Day 1, Election Day 2, reporting Day 3. That’s why we had the time limit on late hit ads from corporations.

    Candidate Smedley, if he/she is smart, is going to refuse the money.

    Irrelevant. They don’t contribute to the candidate, they run their own independent attack ads. That’s the problem. They run their own campaign not subject to the candidate’s approval.

    Mass media is increasingly irrelevant. Those huge ad buys aren’t going to have nearly as much impact today and going into the future.

    Again, with all due respect, you don’t understand how the game is played. An attack ad on TV has an impact, then it gets replayed for free and has a broader impact, then it goes online and has a third impact. Some time later, when it’s too late, we get fact-checking that has a tenth of the impact of the lurid attack.

    That’s why in many cases ads are created without even a media buy — they use free air to get their point out. The law as it stood forbade corporations from doing that, from paying for an ad with or without a media buy. Now a CEO can order an ad, buy time or not, have an impact, absorb any backlash as a cost of doing business, and affect an election.

    Now, I don’t know just what ideology Republicans believe they are serving here. I thought Republicans opposed foreign influence in US elections. But apparently not, so long as they think they can achieve an electoral advantage.

    But then it’s hardly breaking news that Republican’s so-called beliefs can be traded away for cash or power.

  35. 35
    michael reynolds Said:
    3:34 pm 

    Dragon:

    I note that you have failed to refute a single point on its merits.

  36. 36
    the Dragon Said:
    3:34 pm 

    JerryS,

    Why do you hate business?

    I expect soon there will be a drive to Prohibit Corporations employing individuals. God Forbid some small number of Foreign Corporations might hire individuals and brainwash them. We MUST protect potential employees from being brainwashed.

    Is this next?

    Regards,

    ps: this corporate hate is so much bs! bs= genderic opposite of cow pies.

  37. 37
    the Dragon Said:
    3:39 pm 

    michael reynolds said:”Now, I don’t know just what ideology Republicans believe they are serving here. I thought Republicans opposed foreign influence in US elections. But apparently not, so long as they think they can achieve an electoral advantage.”

    michael, what scares you about FREE SPEECH which you have to stiffle?

    Is it that like a good Liberal, you have to control the lives of the citizenry?

    Regards,

  38. 38
    JerryS Said:
    3:46 pm 

    Dragon -

    Why are you incapable of refuting a single point presented to you with simple logic and facts?

    You just keep changing the subject.

    Telling.

    Best,

  39. 39
    the Dragon Said:
    3:57 pm 

    JerryS,

    I guess you don’t get it.

    I believe MORE rather than LESS Speech is the answer.

    Also, you didn’t tell me why my client should be muzzled.

    Regards,

  40. 40
    JerryS Said:
    4:08 pm 

    Dragon -

    See #26. I answered it plainly. You client isn’t muzzled. She can donate as much money as she wants to anyone she wants as an individual, or as part of a PAC. No one is muzzling her.

    Your artifice is actually creating free speech for entities that do not have equal responsibilities. You’re saying that your client, due to her being an LLC, can donate as an individual and again as a Corporation.

    How exactly does that serve the electoral process?

  41. 41
    Andy Said:
    4:37 pm 

    Michael R & JerryS,

    It’s not as if the ability to buy “last minute” airtime is anything new - it was the norm for most of the 20th century. Somehow our political system survived, even when mass media was the only media. You portray these scenarios as some kind of political nuclear weapon which can’t be countered and you seem to discount any arguments that the result will not be as bad as you claim based on mere assertion. And, in our two party system, it’s not like a corporation can have the kind of influence to get a Nazi or Communist candidate elected. At most they will be able to influence close races and only then if their moves are unopposed (ie. no ads from the other side).

    Well, time will tell who is right.

  42. 42
    the Dragon Said:
    4:43 pm 

    JerryS,

    She IS currently limited, she CANNOT give all she wants,easily.

    She’s limited to @$2,400 IF she donates to an opponent of her Congressman, in 1st primary and an equal amount to opponent in General Election.

    She can contribute to a PAC(s) which probably do not address her specific objections. I think, but am not sure, if PAC contributions are also limited.

    She could also set-up a 527, I guess, at I expect heavy costs, before spending dime one on message.

    On the other side, the Washington Post can write suck-up articles every day for months for the Congressman (Whom they happen to love), electioneering masquerading as news.

    NOTE: You can substitute Fox, The NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, etc. for the Washington Post, the effect is the same. ALL corporations by the way, but apparently sacred.

    I AM NOT about restricting media Corporations, just allowing EVERYONE to express themselves with the only restriction…disclosure.

    I find it insulting you think the electoral process needs the reduction of Free Speech to function properly.

    Regards,

  43. 43
    the Dragon Said:
    4:51 pm 

    JerryS and michael reynolds,

    I heard someone say that over 20 states have NO limitation on corporate expenditures in state elections (I cannot verify that easily), but if true, why haven’t we heard of all the horror stories of corporations owning various states?

    Regards,

  44. 44
    Dee Said:
    6:19 am 

    The idea that money equals speech is one that I personally find laughable…that said, trying to regulate contributions to campaigns is like trying to get cats to walk in a straight line, so why bother. Additionally, when all is said and done, this will most likely help/hurt both Rep & Dem equally. In the end it would appear to be much ado about nothing. Dee

  45. 45
    TJ Said:
    6:57 am 

    Bottom Line: Republicans: Domestic, multinational and foreign Corporate power and influence over U.S. elections is A-OK with us and must be protected.

    Got it…. 10-4

  46. 46
    Bald Ninja Said:
    10:07 am 

    So, let me summarize the liberal position on this issue:

    (1) Voters are idiots. If they see an ad (which also declares who paid for it) they will believe it.
    (2) Given point (1), voters must be sheltered from speech by groups liberals deem to be nefarious or corrupt - therefor free speech is only ‘given’ to those liberals feel are worthy of it.

    Someone should let Microsoft in on this too - making the Zune more popular than the iPod is apparently only a matter of purchasing enough advertising.

    Do you liberals realize that in the court brought before the Supreme Court that the lawyer defending the status quo admitted that the status quo could be used to ban books if that book had a political point of view and was paid for by a corporation?

    Liberals and the liberal perspective dominate media and news corporations - I find it amusing that now that corporations can now actually defend themselves in the court of public opinion against a government (which regulates them) and news media that stoke populist rage against them we’ve somehow seen the death of democracy.

    All the advertisements that can be bought up by corporations will still not even come close to surmounting the air time of liberal views that are the day-in-day-out fare of most news and media programs.

  47. 47
    Bald Ninja Said:
    10:15 am 

    How about we apply the old interpretation to news media? I mean, a corporation pays for Keith Olberman to speak right? All news is provided for by corporations. That’s corporate speech - the corporation is even paying for the speech. So, news papers and news broadcasts need to conform to the same rules as other corporations do…how does that sound? Technically you don’t need to belong to or be employed by a corporation to be a journalist - so lets try this out the liberal way but apply it fairly and equally and no one cashing their dirty filthy corporate pay checks can comment on politics under the rules of the old interpretation.

  48. 48
    B.Poster Said:
    11:40 am 

    Clearly the issue of the owners of foreign corporations who are hostile to US interests attempting to influence elections is an issue that will need to be addressed. At the same time we should not usurp the rights of corporations to get their point of view out either. Unfortunately both major political parties seem to be beholden to foreign interests. As such, I don’t expect either major political party to make a serious effort to deal with this.

  49. 49
    KenGirard Said:
    4:41 pm 

    Company A starts up a subsidiary, which starts a subsidiary “Co B”, which starts a subsidiary “WorkAtHome.com”, which then buys ads backing a politician.
    The ads say “Brought to you by WorkAtHome.com”.
    Makes it hard for joe public to connect the dots when 6 months later Company A gets a big no-bid government contract.

    Now last time I checked, a corporation is made up of stockholders and employees, all of whom get a vote if they are an American citizen, and all of whom can chip in money to support a politician…but that was not enough. Now a corporation can spend all its money to get the right judges elected so that someday corporations can be allowed to marry, just like hetrosexuals. Divorce lawyers are already smiling over the idea.

  50. 50
    Maggie's Farm Trackbacked With:
    6:37 am 

    More morning links…

    Feldstein: What’s wrong with the economy?
    Rick Moran is rational on campaign finance and the Court
    Who made money on the swine flu hysteria?
    Pold seem oblivious to all of the IPCC scandals which, to me, discredit the entire IPCC. Senators pers…

  51. 51
    Bald Ninja Said:
    8:05 am 

    Company A starts up a subsidiary, which starts a subsidiary “Co B”, which starts a subsidiary “WorkAtHome.com”, which then buys ads backing a politician.
    The ads say “Brought to you by WorkAtHome.com”.
    Makes it hard for joe public to connect the dots when 6 months later Company A gets a big no-bid government contract.

    Now last time I checked, a corporation is made up of stockholders and employees, all of whom get a vote if they are an American citizen, and all of whom can chip in money to support a politician…but that was not enough. Now a corporation can spend all its money to get the right judges elected so that someday corporations can be allowed to marry, just like hetrosexuals. Divorce lawyers are already smiling over the idea.

    Uh, the Court ruled that corporations can run ads whenever they want and as often as they want. That’s it. They still can’t give more than the allotted amount of money in donations to a campaign. Besides, you don’t think cover organizations weren’t already currently being used to funnel money to political campaigns?

    How long was Obama taking completely anonymous online ‘credit card’ donations? Oh, this is ok but if a corporation actually exercises it’s right to SPEEK then democracy is in shambles?

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