As if Washington weren't dysfunctional enough, coming next week is a court case that could open up even more opportunities for Big Oil and other big money interests to buy our representatives.
We at Oil Change International care deeply about the ways money is corrupting our politics. We spend a lot of time tracking, exposing, and hopefully stigmatizing the massive amounts of money the fossil fuel industry spends to corrupt the political process. Our tool -- the Dirty Energy Money database -- seeks to track the money dirty energy interest spend on campaign contributions to members of Congress, and soon that tool will be implemented in a number of states as well.
Well, when it comes to McCutcheon v. FEC, which is to be heard by the Supreme Court next week, the stakes are high. If Shaun McCutcheon, a climate-denying coal baron, has his way, it could open up a huge new avenue for money to corrupt our politics.
My colleague Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director at Oil Change International, has the details in a new piece on Huffington Post. It's really worth a read in full, but here's the setup:
Alabama coal baron and conservative activist Shaun McCutcheon has a problem. He doesn't feel that $123,200 buys him enough influence in Washington. He wants to spend more. A lot more.Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/McCutcheonCoal
McCutcheon, a big fan of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, apparently feels that this existing aggregate federal campaign contribution limit is a restriction of his "right" to spend what he wants on politics.
Next Tuesday at the Supreme Court, shutdown willing, the Court will hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC. Already being called Citizens United 2 by a coalition of democracy, environmental, and labor activists, the case could enable a single wealthy donor, like McCutcheon, to contribute more than $3.6 million to the Democratic or Republican party's candidates and party committees in a single election cycle.
McCutcheon's case, which reportedly began in the grand ballroom at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel during the "Ronald Reagan Banquet" at the Conservative Political Action Conference is being actively supported by both the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Why does Shaun McCutcheon want to be able to spend more on elections? What does he want to do with the increased access and influence this will buy him in Washington? Likely much of the same thing he has been doing -- advocate for his coal industry and peddle climate denial.