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Sunday, 07 February 2010 17:26

Citizens United vs. FEC

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The recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United (CU) v. Federal Election Commission grants corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. This is a very destructive ruling that guarantees corporate executives the 1st amendment right to quash the 1st amendment rights of ordinary citizens.

At SCPA we have been discussing the debilitating effect of special interest money on democracy, and the need for Clean Elections reform, for a couple of years now. The new CU ruling unleashes that special interest power virtually without restraint, permitting unlimited corporate spending for political campaigns. Congress and regulatory agencies - already heavily dominated by corporate spending - will now be even more susceptible to the flood of money lavished on them or arrayed against them to control their votes.

At first glance CU seems to be an insurmountable obstacle preventing the election of good, truly representative government. But organizations are forming up to work on solutions, and President Obama  has set his administration to work on the issue. In the long run, we need to eliminate the root cause of this issue - the cancerous notion that a corporate entity deserves the rights of personhood. Perhaps the CU ruling is onerous enough to get the ball rolling for that change. In the near term, groups such as the Fair Elections Now Coalition (http://www.fairelectionsnow.org) are working on legislation to mitigate the damage ... such as requiring corporations to have a majority of stockholders approve the campaign spending.

In his latest Money On My Mind essay, Dr. Jay Mandle of Democracy Matters (http://www.democracymatters.org) suggests that CU may be the catalyst for a strong coalition between Clean Elections reformers and those trying to reinstate regulatory reform over the financial sector. This will be a powerful bloc with common cause on these two issues.

SCPA members should pay attention to the fallout from the CU ruling, and participate in the work to corral the damage wrought by our right wing majority court. Watch for a petition drive starting soon in support of the Fair Elections Now Act - the Clean Elections legislation currently in Congress.

Read 24828 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 February 2010 09:24
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