On 1/21/10 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Election Commission overstepped its constitutional authority in barring Citizens United from running ads against Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Presidential election season. Why is this a problem?
In so ruling the Supreme Court destroyed the contribution limits formerly placed on corporate spending in federal campaigns. Prior to this ruling companies and organizations were restrained to an annual maximum contribution of $30,400 to national parties and $2400 to each candidate.
“Under today’s decision, insurance companies, banks, drug companies, energy companies and the like will be free to each spend $5 million, $10 million or more of corporate funds to elect or defeat a federal candidate — and thereby to buy influence over the candidate’s positions on issues of economic importance to the companies.”
If you though political action committees and lobbyists were a pain before just wait. With their nearly unlimited spending power they will completely eclipse grassroots efforts to have the voice of the common people heard.
Regarding the ruling, President Barack Obama released the following statement:
“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington–while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That’s why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.”
Please do your part to stop the avalanche of corporate funds into our democracy by signing MoveOn.org’s petition!