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Torso of a man in a suit with hands cupped, surrounded by money.
After the Supreme Court struck down limits on aggregate campaign contributions earlier this week, who could possibly have predicted that Republicans would respond by wanting to challenge any and all political contribution limits in their path?
Motivated by the ruling in their favor, GOP lawyers and conservative advocates are discussing whether to bring lawsuits that would seek to permit companies and labor unions to donate directly to candidates for Congress and the White House; allow the Republican and Democratic parties to accept unlimited donations; and raise the current $10,000 cap on yearly donations to state political parties. [...]

[The 1976 case of Buckley v. Valeo] struck down limits on campaign expenditures as infringing "core First Amendment rights," but upheld regulation of contributions. Because the recent plaintiffs hadn't challenged the base limits on political contributions, "we see no need in this case to revisit Buckley's distinction between contributions and expenditures," Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

Republican and conservative lawyers interpreted those remarks to mean the court would be ripe to strike down other campaign-finance restrictions. The decision "seems to crack the door open" to a legal challenge aimed at allowing political parties to raise unlimited contributions, said William McGinley, a Republican campaign-finance lawyer with the Washington law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs.

Democrats are of course trying to take advantage of the McCutcheon decision striking down limits on how much an individual can give to all candidates and parties combined over a two-year election cycle, but are not part of the effort to knock down more and more limits and allow money total and complete free rein over politics—that's a Republican fight.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How about MINIMUM contributions next? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wildthumb, DaddyO, shoeless, ZedMont, looty

    They could outlaw all political (or even charitable...then we'd ALL be at heel) donations under a million dollars.

    What a wonderful idea!

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:23:38 AM PDT

    •  All sort of constitutional problems with that (0+ / 0-)

      but it helps the plutocracy so I imagine the Fab Five would gleefully consider it.

      1. Books are for use.

      by looty on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:54:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kahnsteetoowhaaaat???? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        looty

        We don' needs no stinkin' Kahnsteetooshun!!

        The only constitution these SCOTUS clowns know, is when David Koch takes his morning one.

        Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

        by Floyd Blue on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:09:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All this reminds me of the last scene in the (5+ / 0-)

    old movie, The Fall of the Roman Empire. The richest and most powerful Roman Senators are actually bidding on who gets the Legions and therefore the Roman Empire.

    "One million sesterces!" "Two million sesterces!"
    "Three million sesterces."

    Fadeout.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:24:51 AM PDT

  •  Of course they can (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, anna shane, shoeless

    And they WILL. Is there any doubt? Giving money to political candidates will soon be MANDATORY. Guns and money--what made America GREAT. And don't you forget it.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:25:08 AM PDT

  •  To borrow from Lord Acton: (6+ / 0-)

    "Money in politics corrupts, and astronomical sums of money in politics corrupts astronomically."

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, ... there are few die well that die in a battle; ... Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; — Shakespeare, ‘Henry V’

    by dewtx on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:32:46 AM PDT

  •  Exhausted with America (10+ / 0-)

    I am way more liberal than most people here ... a socialist that believes in redistributing the wealth until everybody has a living wage.  I would thrown people in jail for greed.

    But I am exhausted at the idiocy of the Republicans and all the poor and religious people who vote for them.  It is overwhelming just how stupid the average Republican voter is --- and how religion is used to manipulate them.

    I am tried of hearing excuses that Democrats (e.g.) don't vote in off year elections when the crazy idiot Republicans do.

    There is no fixing America because there are just too many idiots at its core.

    President Obama needs to be more liberal.

    by jimgilliamv2 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:35:36 AM PDT

    •  Agreed. Time to think outside the box n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx
    •  No, "idiots" in America are at the top, not ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... "at its core."

      At the core are people who want to be able to vote. Who are willing to pay taxes to support social programs that sustain people who truly need help. Who would reduce a huge and growing defense budget with correlative increases in domestic spending. Who would reduce the use of tax gimmicks and subsidies for already highly profitable businesses.

      They are the ones, the only ones, who can "fix" America.

      The "idiots" aren't actually idiots at all, but very clever manipulators. The more light we can shine on these malefactors of great wealth, the better for the people at the core.

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:56:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is How You Will Know (0+ / 0-)

        When red districts start throwing out the Republicans, you will know that things are changing.  Until then, climate change is more certain of at making real changes than politics.

        President Obama needs to be more liberal.

        by jimgilliamv2 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:17:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hear you, but blaming voters in red districts... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          j rock

          ... takes us off the hook. That proliferation of red districts was largely our fault.

          Red districts blossomed after the elections of 2010. We did that to ourselves. Our "idiots" didn't go to the polls in districts we need not have lost. In 2014, the media meme is for more of the same.

          Yes, we should get good candidates, advertise and GOTV in red districts, but let's be absolutely sure we have done that in blue districts and marginal districts we stand a chance of winning back. If we do that in 2014, we'll keep the Senate. With the Republicans in disarray and shooting themselves in their foots, we might even gain back the House. Or, if not, at least scare the heck out of non-Tea Party Republicans and prove their point in the primaries those malefactors of great wealth now have a constitutional right to manipulate.

          2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You said it (0+ / 0-)

      I am a social democrat.  I hear ya.  But where would you go? Or do you and I just live our lives, do the best we can for ourselves and our families and laugh/cry at the rest?
      Really, I am not kidding.  I keep saying if the majority of Americans vote GOP at least some of the time they are going to get what they deserve.  
      Then I remember that a majority of folks are not voting GOP, they just are not voting.  And I think the likely outcome of McCutcheon et al will be more and more folks just don't vote, which is of course what the oligarchy wants.

  •  Keeping money out of politics is a loosing battle. (0+ / 0-)

    The rich do not have such a fundamentally different perspectives than the rest of the nation that their beliefs are incompatible with the democratic party's.  

    The party would do well to focus on figuring out WHY ultra rich republican donors are my liberal with their support than ultra rich liberals.

    For example

    http://www.latimes.com/...

    Despite what some think the Keystone battle has been a 1% funded effort much the same as some republican efforts we so gladly complain about.

    •  I agree, but after 2012 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gonnabechef

      we might wonder what the results will be.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but doesn't most of the money contributed to campaigns end up in media buys--mostly TV?  Given that the younger voters are not watching television, or not in the usual ways that would expose them to TV ads, the SCOTUS decision might end up being a losing "investment" for the Adelsons and Kochs of the world.  

      True, the Democratic side raised a lot of money last year as well, but didn't all of the money that Karl Rove raised in his various PACs and Super-PACs turn out to be a waste?

      The GOP's demo is dying off (literally) and the younger voters who are taking their place are voting liberal.  So let the RW finance machine spend billions of dollars, we just have to motivate the young ones to vote; that doesn't take nearly as much money.

      •  Yes. We could discredit all ads with this money (0+ / 0-)

        create a meme that they are all lies

        "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

        by merrywidow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:58:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Money winning has been true for (0+ / 0-)

        the entire history of voting.

        Demographic changes help. But money and influence win.

        I see no evidence why this would change with one generation.

        Money will just buy a different method of marketing. (internet adds instead of TV)

        " that doesn't take nearly as much money." again I see no evidence of this.

    •  Liberals don't need to control others, don't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js

      feel entitled to own the world and run it for their own ideologies??  The reason we are not conservatives means we are not as mean and angry about the poors getting stuff they don't deserve, so rich GOPers are just angry and need to control so they give more and always will

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:57:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uhhh...YES (3+ / 0-)

    Can the Republicans get the Supreme Court to allow even more money in politics?

    The answer is an unequivocal YES.  Indeed, John Roberts says as much in the recent court case.

    Justice Roberts is of the opinion that congress can only outlaw the direct giving of money to holders and seekers of public office when there is a direct quid-pro-quo.

    The only reason Justice Roberts did not do away with the limit of giving to individual politicians is because the McCrutcheon case did not directly deal with the limit on giving to individual politicians.  Justice Roberts is now only waiting for a case about the limit on giving to an individual politician to have a reason to throw out such limits.

    Justice Roberts thinks that there should be NO limit on the giving of money to any politician or group of politicians (so long as there is no clear and overt quid-pro-quo associated with such giving).

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:38:25 AM PDT

    •  Then he must agree with full transparency (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian S, j rock

      I cannot know if there is QPQ if I don't know who gave the money.

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:54:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, Robert's virtually invited (0+ / 0-)

      litigants to pursue the matter further, as the quoted source suggested, signaling where they should direct their attack:

      Because the recent plaintiffs hadn't challenged the base limits on political contributions, "we see no need in this case to revisit Buckley's distinction between contributions and expenditures," Chief Justice Roberts wrote.
  •  How much more do they need? I guess that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, shoeless

    too much is not enough, eh?

    The things I want to know are in books; My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.- Abraham Lincoln

    by Mighty Ike on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:39:32 AM PDT

  •  Money = speech. (6+ / 0-)

    So, if you hand your money to a drug dealer or a prostitute, you can't be arrested.

    "Hey officer, we're just talking here."

    What an absolutely ridiculous series of decisions these smarter than thous have come up with.  Money...just fucking wow.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:40:21 AM PDT

  •  Previous limit was unconstitutionally low, so (0+ / 0-)

    yes they can; but where the strict constructionists find that language is a mystery to me.

  •  Why should there be ANY limits? They have (0+ / 0-)

    no reason to ever approve another restriction.

    what could they accept as a reason?

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:51:35 AM PDT

  •  I imagine so! (0+ / 0-)

    To answer the title

    Can Republicans get the Supreme Court to allow even more money in politics?
    Sure why not?
    1. It's their political party with the majority

    2. all Republicans will get the case there

    3. Then file those amicus briefs (sp?)

    4. McConnel will hire us some more attorneys ( I assume only at the taxpayers expense) and either take time to present his own brief or pay them to do it for him.

    The fact that the Republican elected officials, Governors Assoc and the like were a driving force in CU and Now this last one, should be spoken all over the web and any newspapers and any tv someone who speaks well and concisely on AL Ed and where ever!

    How much you want to bet the poor and oppressed republican citizens who have been manipulated with fear and angry political rhetoric, will not be upset? It is their voting rights too, it is their healthcare too, it is their savings and food on the table too, it is their TV bombarded with PROPAGANDA..

    I think it is a uniting truth that forward thinking balanced sector of this population could creatively use for the good of all in demanding and getting the humane change needed.

    Just my viewpoint and opinion, I need to express, I guess, not to be taken as fact or that I know one lousy thing :)

  •  'mo money, 'mo speech: an ultimate free market /nt (0+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:52:45 AM PDT

  •  Limit donations to the state you live in. (0+ / 0-)

    Corporations can all vote in Delaware or the Caymans.

    Maybe I should not be able to give to Wendy Davis, I live in NYC.

    the tea baggers might even see the logic here

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:52:55 AM PDT

  •  The Supreme Court has declared war on Democracy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace

    It's time liberals and Democrats acted like it.

  •  Poor Republicans (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ray, solublefish

    They see all those poor people, brown and black people and that hideous Hillary Clinton heading for the White House.  They know the days of the rich white man are limited unless they grab all that power right now.  Roberts arranged the "selection" of Bush who then "selected" Roberts Chief Justice.  "Justice" Thomas (who forgets his wife gets 6 figures from the GOP on his tax returns) says there should be no financial limits to "free speech" or politics.  They believe what Wall Street did was cool and Bushco the best.  What they will not tolerate are "free" elections that effect the government they control.

  •  Real issue is judges and small races where (0+ / 0-)

    a billionaire could literally buy every election where big money  is not usually needed

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:58:46 AM PDT

  •  Pack the fucking Court. Enough is enough. (0+ / 0-)

    Go all out to win Congress and the White House in 2016. Then, eliminate the filibuster. Then, add 4 new Justices to the Supreme Court.

    Then, and only then, the Congress can pass all kinds of campaign finance and voter protection laws that will gut the GOP's source of competitiveness like a pick.

    It will force the GOP to compete by becoming more inclusive, expanding their political message and competing for small bore donations.

    In other words, it will prevent the GOP from ever winning another election for at least 20-25 years. During which, we will fix this country, finally.

    I'm tired of playing nice. It's time to not be nice.

  •  C.J. Roberts is voiding campaign finance law ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, solublefish

    ... one step at a time. And there aren't many more steps to go.

    Jeffery Toobin nailed it in the current New Yorker online:

    Rather, Roberts wrote, “Congress may target only a specific type of corruption — ‘quid pro quo’ corruption.”
    ...
    In other words, Roberts is defining “quid pro quo” corruption almost as outright bribery, which Congress can outlaw. But the implication of what Roberts is saying is that anything short of outright bribery is protected by the First Amendment.
    To be fair, this area started down the wrong path when previous editions of SCOTUS equated campaign contributions to the exercise of free speech. You could see the handwriting on the wall. Now, the Roberts Court is only one small step from eviscerating the nation's campaign finance laws and depriving Congress of the ability to do anything - even very self-serving things as it has in the past - about it.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:10:32 AM PDT

    •  As if you could enforce anything beyond bribery. (0+ / 0-)

      You can't.  

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:45:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Should Congress be able to limit campaign spending (0+ / 0-)

        That's the real issue underlying this line of cases. And in McCutcheon, C.J. Roberts is stating the polar extreme case of "outlawing," but we needn't fall for a false dichotomy.

        The Court is systematically dismantling limits on campaign financing. If that's not a good result, it's not because we can't enforce anti-corruption.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:49:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So no shoeboxes full of money for a vote (0+ / 0-)

      So only those politicians stupid enough to take a shoebox of money and write a thank you note in return noting a vote can be outlawed!

      •  Well, it's a matter of proof in a court. (0+ / 0-)

        Consider the many bennies Virginia's ex-Gov. Bob and his lovely wife Maureen solicited, accepted, blinked (blunk?) their eyes at. I don't know that a quid pro quo can be proven, but there's enough else surrounding the gifts that there could well be a case there.

        There's no doubt in my mind that Chief Justice Roberts is being willfully blind. It goes beyond the edge of the known world of politics to believe that a donor has no influence after he or she has finances issue campaigns in your favor. Or against your opponent. Or dumps money into groups that spread the fodder around. Or contributes to your family foundation's library. Or offers - only when you're ready, of course - to accept your resume to head his or her think tank or hire your lobbyist/consulting/law firm.

        There is a huge difference between making a hundred calls to get, say, fifty people to belly up a hundred bucks each and making one call that's highly likely to fetch $5000. Each, from all the family members or fellow executives.

        The core problem, though, is that Congress ain't gonna change things much. They'll concoct laws that look like campaign finance reform, but aren't. Instead, they will protect their sources of campaign spending boodles and, thereby, ensure their own incumbencies. Congress just ain't ready for reform.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 02:11:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats need to call it corruption (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ray

    If the Supreme Court doesn't think this is the appearance of corruption, then Democrats need to call it out.

  •  money never wins electons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA

    voters do. If Democrats get out in large numbers they can still win.

  •  Corporate Vice Presidents are the big losers here. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA

    Having 213 Vice Presidents for Washroom Management, Conference Room Scheduling, and Junior Assistant Vice President Supervision was the old way of getting around the donation limits.

    Does this mean a streamlining of the corporate heirarchy?

  •  We could recognize reality! (0+ / 0-)

    Just put the seats in the House and Senate up for bid to the Highest bidder.  That should please at least 5 of the Justices on the Roberts Court.

    Thomas said, "ZZZZZZZZ"

    Scalia said, "Yippee!  Finally, Mission Accomplished.  Do I get a cod piece, too?"

    Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

    by NM Ray on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:41:05 AM PDT

  •  We are missing a golden opportunity... (0+ / 0-)

    ...to point out to voters that all paid political speech is bought-and-paid-for political speech, and that they should distrust all of it.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:44:10 AM PDT

    •  Public office, private money (0+ / 0-)

      Americans consistently object to public funding of campaigns but has anybody ever pointed out to them that these are public offices!?  So public office paid for with private money.  This goes hand in hand with public money for private profit (also known as privatization).

      Wonder if any legal scholar will start arguing that if participation by payment is protected activity, voting is too, the ultimate participation speech.

  •  Not sure but I hope that do (0+ / 0-)

    Just as long as they don't prevent the large donations to progressive causes.

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:53:44 AM PDT

  •  This is what's coming... (0+ / 0-)

    Unlimited amounts of unlimited contributions. SCOTUS has proven they don't believe in any campaign finance laws. Every elected official will be bought and sold to the highest bidder.

  •  Thomas (at least) would overturn Buckley (0+ / 0-)

    JUSTICE THOMAS, concurring in the McCutcheon judgment:  "I adhere to the view that this Court’s decision in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1 (1976) (per curiam), denigrates core First Amendment speech and should be overruled."  See: p.47 of the pdf file. I believe that if that striking of Buckley were to occur, then there would be even less regulation of money in politics. Control of that immense amount of money by so few is a tyranny of sorts.

    Thom Hartmann: Thomas Jefferson's 3 Greatest Fears is a brief video that is worth 8 minutes of time to watch. Hartmann works as a scholarly journalist with deep knowledge of Jefferson and characterizes Jefferson as foreseeing the U.S. to be a Nation of independent & free citizens with family farms and family businesses. Fearing 1. tyrannical governments (kingdoms), 2. organized religions, and 3.  commercial monopolies (an immensely wealthy ruling elites that can corrupt democracy), Jefferson did what he could to protect us from these three dangers. I think he would have included in his perception of tyrannical government the oligarchs we have recently seen, ascend in El Salvador, Guatemala, and the U.S. with the help of President Reagan and his aficionados of whom several are members of the current SCOTUS.

    On July 4, 1776 saw not only a Declaration of Independence; chosen were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin to design a great seal for the new country. Franklin proposed the phrase "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God," which sentiment Jefferson embraced putting it in the Virginia seal design. Congress rejected the elaborate seal, but retained the words "E Pluribus Unum," which became the United States's motto.

    Jefferson wrote about the draft U.S. constitution from Paris on 12-20-1787 to James Madison, "I will now add what I do not like. First the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly & without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal & unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land & not by the law of Nations."

    We must oppose letting political parties raise unlimited contributions.

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