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This is the definition of moving the goalposts. Republicans fought for years to make it easier for corporations to give campaign money, arguing that there was no inherent problem with abolishing limits on contributions and spending, as long as voters knew who was doing the spending.

Now that they've achieved that, they're moving on to the next goal.

Today, with those fundraising restrictions largely removed, many conservatives have changed their tune. They now say disclosure could be an enemy of free speech.

High-profile donors could face bullying and harassment from liberals out to "muzzle" their opponents, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a recent speech.

Karl Rove adds that "it's shameful" that Democrats "want to intimidate people into not giving to these conservative efforts." As if these were people corporations who could be intimidated. What's telling is that they'd prefer all these millions in contributions be kept secret. And it sort of begs the question of why free speech has to also be secret speech. If there isn't something nefarious going on, why cover it up?

With the Supreme Court doubling down on Citizens United by refusing to even consider the Montana challenge, transparency laws in the states aren't likely to withstand the real onslaught that's underway in the courts.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 01:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, German American Friendship Group, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 01:37:25 PM PDT

  •  What a cesspool the Roberts court has (5+ / 0-)

    created. A total cesspool.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 01:56:46 PM PDT

  •  I'm still trying to figure out how paying someone (4+ / 0-)

    money to say what you want said is considered "free speech". Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call that, "paid speech"?

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:01:17 PM PDT

  •  Totally measly $100 contribution (5+ / 0-)

    requires public disclosure but the $millions+ political funding by billionaires and corporations doesn't?!?!

    Hypocrisy know no limits in ReTHUGlican brains!

    Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

    by ranton on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:59:55 PM PDT

  •  Meanwhile, Romney set for fundraiser tomorrow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi nice little 11,000sq/ft, $70 million apartment of Martin Zweig.

    While the will he or won’t he speculation continues around whether Mitt Romney will appear at a Thursday fundraiser with Donald Trump, he is expected appear at one later that evening at the same location: the penthouse at the Pierre in New York City.

    The private home in the tony hotel belongs to stock investor and financial analyst Martin Zweig and his wife Barbara. The Zweigs put it on the market in 2004 for $70 million, making it the most expensive private home in the country at the time.
  •  A constitutional right to anonymous speech? (0+ / 0-)

    What a concept! Now there's a sense of responsibility for you!

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:06:41 PM PDT

  •  From the Citizens United decision (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, zooecium
    Disclosure is the less-restrictive alternative to more comprehensive speech regulations. Such requirements have been upheld in Buckley and McConnell. Citizens United’s argument that no informational interest justifies applying §201 to its ads is similar to the argument this Court rejected with regard to disclaimers. Citizens United finally claims that disclosure requirements can chill donations by exposing donors to retaliation, but offers no evidence that its members face the type of threats, harassment, or reprisals that might make §201 unconstitutional as applied. Pp. 52–55.

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:16:19 PM PDT

  •  Ridiculous (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Delta Overdue

    What a crock of it.  Undemocratic?  If financial contributions are defend as "freedom of speech,"  than it should be considered public; thus, posted in a readily and easily accessible manner.

  •  Probably same folks argue to end anonymity on net (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Island Expat

    on national security grounds or something.  I think the bigger threat to national security would be secret billionaires and corporations buying politicians in complete secrecy.  

  •  Free speech! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The BigotBasher

    It is free speech! Free speech! Free speech! Free speech!

    Who gives a shit if it eventually destroys our democracy, it is free speech!

    Oh, what a great plutocracy the United States will be!

    My friends, history does repeat itself. Historians thought the Gilded Age was bad. They ain't seen nothing yet.

    24, male, OK-02 (current), TX-04 (born)

    by chancew on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:22:00 PM PDT

  •  There needs to be a constitutional (0+ / 0-)

    amendment that defines a person as "as anyone who can legally hold a US passport".
    Corporations can not hold US passports.. only individuals can.. therefore, Corporations will can not a person.
    Link Citizens United to "citizenship" and immigration. If corporations can't hold a passport, they should not allowed to participate in elections, or spend money on them, especially if they have operations in other countries. Money earned from those countries should not be allowed to be spent in US elections,( which they are now.. so techincally foreign money is influencing US elections via corporations)  

    •  That would exclude immigrants and tourists (0+ / 0-)

      The constitutional amendment should define a person as a human being, plain and simple.  Corporations, associations, and other legal fictions should be regarded as entities.

      A thief thinks everybody else is a thief; a liar thinks everybody else is a liar; and a Republican thinks everybody else is as selfish and heartless as they are.

      by rubyduby7 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:57:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The right wingers think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The BigotBasher

    that their lack of disclosure for their donors is analogous to anonymous pamphleteers in the public square, dropping off broadsides in favor of or against their candidate.  But the 527s and super PACs have visible leaders that exert outsized influence on politicians and the legislative process.  Folks like Rove and Norquist don't get this influence by any other means but money and their ability to outspend those who stand in their way.  The people deserve to know who supports the kingpins; our democracy is really at risk with so much money in the hands of these people.

    "You're not allowed to sell your countrymen out to multinational financial corporations anymore and still call yourself a patriot." --MinistryOfTruth

    by Kurt from CMH on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:23:34 PM PDT

  •  your speech is protected (0+ / 0-)

    but that doesn't mean you're protected from the consequences of that speech.

    oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

    Twitter: @DanteAtkins

    by Dante Atkins on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:23:37 PM PDT

  •  From the Doe v Reed argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, zooecium
    MR. BOPP: Well, we -- we think it's a -- a very marginal interest. The Ninth Circuit recently ruled that if you give a small contribution to an initiative there's not -- I mean, nobody cares. So why should it be publicly disclosed when it's so marginal?

    JUSTICE SCALIA: What about just -- just -what about just wanting to know their names so you can criticize them?


    MR. BOPP: Well -

    JUSTICE SCALIA: Is -- is that such a bad thing in a democracy?

    MR. BOPP: Well, what is bad is not the criticism, it's the public -- it's the government requiring you to disclose your identity and belief.

    JUSTICE SCALIA: But part of the reason is so you can be out there and be responsible for the positions you have taken....

    JUSTICE SCALIA: You know, you can't run a democracy this way, with everybody being afraid of having his political positions known.

    JUSTICE SCALIA: The person who requests a referendum is taking -- when there's a certain number of signatures required to achieve it is taking part in that.

    And in light of the fact that for the first century of our existence, even voting was public -- you either did it raising your hand or by voice, or later, you had a ballot that was very visibly red or blue so that people knew which party you were voting for -- the fact is that running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage. And the First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate, or to take part in the legislative process.

  •  Since Karl Rove inhabits the Bizarro World (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny

    and speaks only in counterspeak, he is saying that Conservatives are ashamed to negate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that they need not be identified malforming a more imperfect union.

    Stand on your head, face the mirror, play it backward, and you will misunderstand it thoroughly.

    Keep your mitts off our government!

    by Says Who on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:26:28 PM PDT

  •  There's a real danger that Democrats might (0+ / 0-)

    intimidate foreign investors who want to invest in Romney.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:27:12 PM PDT

  •  Soylent Majority is people /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:27:49 PM PDT

    •  somebody watchin' Futurama... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Should we start asking mitten for his Earth Certificate?

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:33:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nixon's the One! Ahrooooo! (0+ / 0-)
        In 1968, Dick Tuck utilized Republican nominee Nixon's own campaign slogan against him; he hired a very pregnant African-American woman to wander around a Nixon rally in a predominantly white area, wearing a T-shirt that said, "Nixon's the One!"

        slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

        by annieli on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 08:24:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rethugs: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny

    You must provide and produce at your cost whatever ID we demand for you to vote as an individual. As a corporation you need provide no ID in order to buy or manipulate that voter.

    Maybe if corporations were treated as people, my friends, Romney would support them having to provide ID? I doubt it though.

  •  Conservatives are so intimidated, right? (0+ / 0-)

    This is one of the most insane and disingenuous arguments I've seen from these people yet.  Really?  Conservatives will be oh, so intimidated by the fact that their contributions would be public that it might make them not want to give?  Clutch your pearls, ladies!

    Boo friggin' hoo.

    A) That is total BS.  Every bloviating, loudmouth conservative I have ever heard of is supposedly unabashedly proud of their beliefs, and has great contempt for liberals and Democrats, so in what way could their judgement or action intimidate someone who truly believes in the conservative cause?

    2)  I don't know about you, but I am happy to have my (admitedly rather modest) donation record perfectly public.  I'm not afraid of my political contributions.  Truth be known, it could have an impact in my profession, but like I said, it's small potatoes, so not really, but the point is, put up, declare, or shut up and keep it in your pocket.

  •  Ah yes -- Money Bags Mitch. (0+ / 0-)

    The senator from my state, unfortunately. Likes his grass blue, but his handshakes green.

    He knows his party loses on platform but wins on money -- so he goes for the money. He's been singing this tune for years, and backing it up with some of the most aggressive fund-raising ever seen in politics.

    Why is he the leader of the Republicans? Not because he is a great leader, or an inspiring figure, or a policy wonk. No, it's for one simple reason: he raises boatloads of cash, then donates it to the campaigns of his fellow Republicans.

    Very sorry my fellow Kentuckians keep sending him back.

    Bruce in Louisville
    Visit me at

    Follow me on Twitter: @brucewriter

    by bmaples on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:29:35 PM PDT

  •  I see opportunity in all of this (0+ / 0-)

    In a world of undisclosed donations, we can train people to see all political advertising as noise paid for by criminals.  Concretely, we can accuse Republicans of taking donations from criminals and they have no recourse (besides pouting) so long as they won't identify the donors.  

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:33:40 PM PDT

  •  Isn't private money to politicians bribery?? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:36:01 PM PDT

  •  reminds me of hitler whining about germans (0+ / 0-)

    living in poland being harassed & intimidated, & that's why he "had" to invade poland -- to protect them!

    rove's argument is the same thing: obscenely wealthy corporations MUST be protected from menacing mobs of poor people looking to take revenge b/c they're jealous of their money & power & want to destroy them!!!!!

    •  It is not happenstance that this is true. (0+ / 0-)

      These people are in many ways of exactly the same mindset as the historical people you invoke--both in terms of their sense of entitlement and sense of superiority.

      Ultimately it will destroy them, but unfortunately we will probably have to live through some really horrendous times first-until the stupid people stop voting for these wretched fucks.

      "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

      by caseynm on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:08:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  they should, with diaper pissing sternly wagging (0+ / 0-)

    finger aspirants to the Kennedy School Of Government, College of Tome Writing Loser Dweebs as opponents, or

    DLC Third Way New Dem yuppie sell out scum -

    WHY play fair?

    they're fascists, they're not running a pre-school.



    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:49:43 PM PDT

  •  Sure am glad the Dems didn't filibuster Roberts (0+ / 0-)

    or Alito....Or Scalia....Or Thomas.....

    Kiss your democracy goodbye--these Nazis hate it, as do Republicans.

    "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

    by caseynm on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:58:56 PM PDT

  •  Money is the quintessense of paid speech... (0+ / 0-)

    in what reality can it be considered free speech?

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:47:14 PM PDT

  •  Their disclosure for govt matches their disclosure (0+ / 0-)

    for Wall Street.

    No wonder they like unregulated off-exchange trading so much and allowing banks to sell products without full disclosure. Only with the black box of mystery can Republicans perform their magic tricks of making money disappear - into their pockets.

    There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...
    I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? ~ Robert Kennedy

    by Reality Bites Back on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:13:12 PM PDT

  •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

    "Right argues that disclosing campaign donations is undemocratic"

    Yep, they feel that way about everything...

    F*ck those idiots and the voters they rode in on.

    by roninkai on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:16:51 PM PDT

  •  according to this logic... (0+ / 0-)

    According to this logic, if I disagree with Justice Scalia and I want to "speak out" by slapping him in the mouth, I have a protected right of anonymity as I express my opinion -- especially if I invest in a heavy-handed way, giving him a $100,000 wallop rather than just a $10 powder.  This is good to know.  

  •  the risk of focus on "corporations aren't people" (0+ / 0-)

    Much of the out-of-control spending isn't from corporations. It's from uber-wealthy individuals (Adelson, Koches) and non-profit entities. So even if we managed to overturn the "corporations are people too" part of Citizens United, we'd still be left with wealthy individuals able to do whatever they want to buy the election and its aftermath.

    The more important narrative? "Money isn't speech" -- that when the First Amendment says Congress can't restrict speech (on grounds of content, per the courts), that meant not punishing speech -- not guaranteeing that more money entitles you to an unlimited megaphone.

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