Well, they did ‘er boys. The conservatives on the Supreme Court today struck down your right to elect your own representatives. From now on, we’ll be electing the Senator from Arch Coal and the Congressman from PPL. In a 5-4 decision, the Court decided that it’s okay for corporations to spend as much money as they want to influence elections, anytime they want. They struck down not only portions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, the Court invalidated the Montana law that says, “A corporation may not make a contribution or an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.” Sorry America, it’s a free speech thing. Money is speech. Corporations have all the money, so they have all the speech.
At least the minority got it right. Justice John Paul Stevens said, “The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court’s disposition of this case.” Republicans, of course, were forced to show some support for the decision, but even they see that this decision could cause a precipitous decline in the influence of political parties. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele commented that, “the Court has now left an imbalance that disadvantages national parties in their ability to support their candidates.” Yep, if you don’t have to funnel your money through political parties, why would you do it? Corporations can now select, protect and elect their own candidates without meddling by Michael Steele.
The decision undermines a 100 years of precedent. The reason that Montana passed our law in 1912 was because the Anaconda Copper Company completely owned the Legislature and our Congressional delegation. Too bad Anaconda is gone, they could now go back to business as usual. If you thought the airwaves were filled with negative attack ads before, just wait ’til this fall. Now they can run right up to the second before the polls open.
Stevens and the dissenters said the majority was ignoring the long-understood rule that the government could limit election money from corporations, unions and others, such as foreign governments. “Under today’s decision, multinational corporations controlled by foreign governments” would have the same rights as Americans to spend money to tilt U.S. elections. “Corporations are not human beings. They can’t vote and can’t run for office,” Stevens said, and should be subject to restrictions under the election laws.
In case you’re not sure, Yep, that’s your money they’re spending. If you own shares of Wal-Mart, they can take your investment and use it against you to pass laws and elect troglodytes that your hate. They no longer have to use donated funds and funnel them through PACs, they can dip directly into their treasury funds. The good news is that the pain will be bipartisan. President Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests” and vowed to work with Congress to “develop a forceful response“. Support the Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act introduced by Alan Grayson, enacting a 500% excise on corporate contributions to political committees and on corporate expenditures for political advocacy campaigns. If money is speech, we are going to need a shitload more speech.
From today on, your government is for sale. Okay, more for sale than it was yesterday. If you didn’t have a reason to support publicly funded, clean elections up to now, the Supreme Court just gave you a doozy. We have got to get big money, from both sides, out of our electoral process. Here’s one way you can send a message to Congress to get on this and quick. Then let’s all jump on the bandwagon and get rid of this silly notion of corporate personhood. Corporations ain’t people. Corporations are a pile of papers in the bottom of some lawyers file cabinet. They don’t have human rights, they don’t raise kids, they don’t catch colds, they don’t enjoy sunsets and they shouldn’t elect people to represent me.