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Hands forking over $100 bills.
If you were wondering what limits on money in politics would be challenged in court next, here's one place to look. The lawyer who brought you the McCutcheon case is going after political action committee donation limits, because "These discriminatory restrictions impermissibly allow entrenched institutions and interests to engage in protected First Amendment activities to a greater extent than newly formed grassroots organizations that have spontaneously mobilized in response to emergent political issues and developments." His beef:
PACs that are less than 6 months old are permitted to give up to $5,200 to a candidate in an election cycle, while PACs more than 6 months old can give $10,000 per election cycle.

By contrast, new PACs can give $10,000 to a state political party committee and $32,400 to a national political party per year. Those limits actually decrease once a PAC reaches 6 months old to $5,000 each year to a state or local party and $15,000 annually to a national party.

“The right of groups and individuals to speak are being treated very differently,” Backer said in an interview.

Yes, he straight-up referred to financial contributions of thousands of dollars as speech. And yes, the limits on contributions by new PACs are meant to prevent people from saying "screw these individual contribution limits, I'll just set up a PAC to get around them."

Of course, Backer's real end game is unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and PACs at all times. An ever-flowing river of undifferentiated money. Because democracy!

Sign the petition to demand campaign finance reform now.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 01:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can we just have the price tags stamped on to (12+ / 0-)

    the politician's foreheads? If they're going to be completely bought and paid for we should at least have the price information made public.

    GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 01:22:21 PM PDT

  •  Full disclosure and transparency of donor sources? (8+ / 0-)

    Given the current pattern of the flawed Roberts court, it appears that all donation limits will be eliminated.  

    Full disclosure and transparency of the donor sources may be all we can wish for in the near-term.

  •  Swell...NOT! n/t (4+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 01:24:57 PM PDT

  •  The Roberts Doctrine (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, ericlewis0, Mannie, dewtx, Cadillac64

    which says only outright, naked bribery can be considered "corrupting", would seem to suggest that this regulation will also get the axe from SCOTUS.

    1. Books are for use.

    by looty on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 01:29:21 PM PDT

  •  Because Democracy (6+ / 0-)

    should be for sale to the highest bidder. After all the rich deserves the best government that their money can buy and to hell with the rest of us!

    Dogs and Philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards (Diogenes)

    by Out There on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 01:33:34 PM PDT

  •  Apparently the Constitution guarantees us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Cadillac64

    all the rights money can buy. What a country!

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 02:25:42 PM PDT

  •  What we need is to get rid of the silly concept (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, ranton, JeffW, Cadillac64

    that we can somehow mitigate plutocratic power in our democracy by limiting quantities money/speech. If a new PAC is limited to half the donations of an older PAC, won't the billionaires simply create two PACs, or fifty?

    We need to nip this in the bud and demand 100% transparency from our government. And we need to eliminate secret lobbying deals.

    Here's how we do that:

    1) Everything that is not related to military secrecy should be fully disclosed to the public. All lobbyist communications, written or verbal, should be made available on the internet. NO more secret deals. Period.

    2) No political commercials should be allowed on TV or the radio. All commercials should be available on the internet at one site, and on public television & radio channels. All politicians will be given equal time to promote themselves.

    3) Require steep fines and jail time for anyone who makes secret deals with elected officials, and the politicians should face the same punishment.

    Make it very risky to buy off politicians and we will be able to save our fledgling democracy. Otherwise, expect to be living in a complete plutocracy within one generation.

  •  America bought & paid 4 courtesy of the oligarchy! (0+ / 0-)

    Democracy is dead!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 03:23:48 PM PDT

  •  It's time for a 90% graduated top tax rate on ANY (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Cadillac64

    cumulative political donations over $20,000 with raised revenue dedicated to publicly financed campaigns for those who accept public financing restrictions. Those restrictions should include free prime airtime based on a percentage of the paid airtime for those who privately finance campaigns.  It's also time to end the loophole for issue "advocacy" that has become a peverting conduit of money, money, money.

    I relish the idea of those who wish to subvert our representative democracy with their wealth paying for their oppositions' campaigns.  It is time for a well-aimed "shot across the bow' even if taxing excessive political donations will not pass yet...offense, please!  Start the "conversation"!

    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 Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:35:40 PM PDT

  •  I keep saying the system is broken. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, dewtx

    I am wrong.

    It's almost completely fixed now.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:33:49 PM PDT

  •  #CampaignFinanceReform! Hear effin Hear!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Cadillac64

    I could not agree more!

    * * * DONATE/VOLUNTEER: Marianne Williamson for CA-33 * * * #CampaignFinanceReform is the lynchpin of our democracy. #AIKIDOPROVERBMoveSoonerNotFaster ~

    by ArthurPoet on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:34:42 PM PDT

  •  Sure. And while we're at it, we should allow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Cadillac64

    unlimited money to freely flow into all professional sports, players and teams at all levels of competition (including collegiate) as well loosening restrictions on everything from bat dimensions to engine displacement.

    After all - why shouldn't a town be able to have the best team money can buy?

    /snark - in case it wasn't painfully obvious :/

    Signature (this will be attached to your comments)

    by here4tehbeer on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:52:10 PM PDT

  •  ISO Non-Lesters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Simplify, Cadillac64

    In Lawrence Lessig's TED talk, he compares the U.S. to a land where there are two elections. In the first, anyone named Lester gets a vote. After the Lesters have their election, there's a general vote, but only people who've won the Lester election are qualified to run in that race.

    In the U.S. we could call them "Adelsons", but the point is the same. Increasingly, the people with the money have their election and we're left to choose from among the top runners in the Adelsons election.

    I want to put together a new organization of non-Lesters. This would be an organization of people contributing less than $20K to each election cycle. If you qualified, you could be part of the organization, and the non-Lesters in the organization would have their own election. In that election, people would be able to participate based on their ideas and the popularity (and clarity, we would hope) of those ideas. After the non-Lester election, we'd present our candidates to the general population for public elections.

    Naturally, our candidates would win. That's because they would already have the backing of a zillion involved citizens.

    If you're interested in helping me put together my association of small political donors, send me a message, and I'll include you in.

    According to Lessig, we don't need laws to get rid of big money in politics. We only need to have our own, non-rich election. He's right.

    (Lessig also has his own organization working on this. And, obviously, Movetoamend and other groups are working to restore some sanity. But, I think we might need to be considerably more aggressive. And, nothing in my proposal is mutually exclusive with their efforts.)

    (Also, I'm paraphrasing what Lessig says. Go to the video to see the real thing.)

  •  Politicians should be able to take (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Cadillac64

    As much money as they want from contributors. In exchange, they have to wear their sponsors' logos at all times, like a race car. Our nation has already been purchased, might as well get it all out in the open.

    First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

    by Hannibal on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:55:43 PM PDT

  •  I don't think I even (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    care- The "Fire Sale" on Politicians is so thoroughly saturated now-they'll need a few yachts just to float down the Halls of Congress.
    I'm simply going to ignore all that it buys...for my own satisfaction.

  •  campaign money (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, smileycreek, Simplify, Cadillac64

    I am new to this site and maybe a bit naive about politics.   I get so many emails asking for money and they imply that if they have more money they could win. I understand the need to buy more ads etc to put out their message but it seems more like a race to get more money than anything else.  It feels like it is all for nothing.

    •  Stick around-- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, Cadillac64

      The cure for political naivety is regular exposure to Daily Kos!

      Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      ~~ from the DK Partners & Mentors Team.

      The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
      ---> Bertrand Russell

      by smileycreek on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 09:13:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not naive at all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, Cadillac64

      If it were straightforward to reclaim government for the people, or if were merely a matter of spending a chunk of money on one thing to get us that goal, we'd have done it already.

      But surrender is exactly what the rich and powerful want. Just look at how hard they have to work and how much they have to spend to suppress populist liberal ideas!

      Ideas are powerful things. Our strength runs in popular, collective ways. When another President like FDR says of the bankers, "I welcome their hatred," you'll know we're winning.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 11:38:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Money In Elections (0+ / 0-)

        My nom de blog is farrrightwing so I do not expect you to post my comments. In any event, restrictions on money donations are a restriction on free speech. That was the basis for the correct decision.

          As Alfred E Neuman would say: "What, me worry?" Obama & Co are the champs of fundraising, especially of foreign, illegal donations. But Alinsky-inspired Progressives don't see them that way. They see it as whatever it takes to gain and hold power against the evil capitalists is justified.

          We are on a collision course in this country. Decent Americans are fed up with the grossly illegal Obama Administration. Now you can call me a racist, it is all you have!

         Our only hope is that the Tea Party eventually prevails with the help of Sarah Palin and the Koch Brothers. They represent the Patriots of this nation. God Bless them.

  •  TV ads worthless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is anyone under forty watching television via cable or air anymore?  It's laughable how the rich are going to waste money on ads.  They'll literally piss it away.  Millennials don't watch TV.  They stream.  And they will simply click off the ads.  They will however blog for their news.  

  •  FDR (0+ / 0-)

        FDR was a dupe of the Progressives and Communists of the New Deal era.  The corruption of the FDR years is told in Amity Shales "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression".

          FDR's Administration was infiltrated by Communists from the bottom right up to the top, i.e., Harry Hopkins. All of these facts are documented in Diana West's excellent "Ämerican Betrayal: The Secret Assault On Our Nation's Character." Finally, the truth about the USA and the Soviets in WW II has been documented.

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