Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
One of the most pressing fights for Progressives to restore America to all Americans is overturning the ungodly Citizens United v. Federal Election Commision that gave Corporate America the power to buy elections. In the last election cycle that resulted in a flood of money and corruption in an already troubled voting process. Of course, with a tainted voting process there is no possibility for true Democracy no matter what country you live in.
As most of you know, this ruling is so dangerous for Democracy because it allows Corporate America a loophole in disclosing their spending on elections:
The Citizens United decision did not strike down any rules that require disclosure of political spending, but loopholes in the tax system and lax campaign finance rules allow corporations to give money in ways that are very hard to track, disclosure advocates say.
According to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics in the 2010 election 67 percent of all outside (non political party) spending came from groups that had been freed to contribute by the Citizens United decision with non-profit 501(c) groups dominating spending on election ads.
IRS rules state that 501(c)(4) groups don’t have to name their contributors as long as electioneering is not their primary purpose, but this can be difficult to enforce in a meaningful way. Groups can form and carry out campaign work and then later switch to other activities so that political projects don’t appear to dominate their activities.
Luckily today at least someone is trying to do something about it. Although it will die in the corporate-controlled House of Hypocrites John Conyers and Donna Edwards have introduced legislation to overturn that terrible decision:
Sponsored by Reps. John Conyers (Mich.), senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and Donna Edwards (D-Md.), the proposal would amend the Constitution to empower Congress and the states to limit corporate spending on political activities.
"Last year, the Supreme Court overturned decades of law and declared open season on our democracy," Conyers said in a statement. "It is individual voters who should determine the future of this nation, not corporate money."
At the time, the priorities of those on both sides of this argument were summed up nicely by the justices themselves:
The majority argued there is nothing in the First Amendment to indicate that corporations shouldn't be afforded the same constitutional protections as individuals.
"Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker," wrote the conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Writing in dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens, representing the court's liberal wing, argued that corporations and individuals often have very different interests. The decision, he warned, "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation."
Which boils down to a simple question to Americans. Are corporations as important as people and is money considered "free speech"?? It seems to me that money cannot be considered as "speech" in our society as created by the founding fathers quite simply because it gives those with more money more "say" in what will happen in our country. When elections can simply be bought and paid the eventual result will be huge majorities of people whose interests aren't represented as politicians bend to the monied interests to try and be reelected. Only a blind person cannot see that has already happened.
Even with the eventual result of this legislation carved in stone we should all let our Congressfolks know that we support overturning this travesty that moves our country away from Democracy and into Oligarchy.
This fight has just begun.