Archive for the ‘Campaign finance’ Category

>Western Tribune column January 27 2010 Supreme Court Decision

February 1, 2010

>My column from the Western Tribune January 27, 2010

It’s not how democracy should work

Never again should conservatives speak out against “activist judges” after the decision handed down by the U. S. Supreme Court last week that affirms corporate personhood and allows corporations to contribute unlimited amounts of money toward electing and defeating political candidates.

In doing so, the court reversed long standing legal precedent and overturned laws that had been on the books for decades.

How might this affect the election process?

Think of Exxon Mobil, the largest corporation in the country. In 2008 their operating profits equaled $85 billion. If they decide to spend just 10% of their profits on political campaigns, they would spend $8.5 billion, and this would be more than three times what President Obama, John McCain and all the House and Senate candidates in 2008 spent on their campaigns.

Does anyone think the environment stands a chance against this type of potential assault? Remember the Exxon Valdez?

At the risk of sounding like the Teabaggers, it’s “We the People,” not “We the Corporations.”
And we, conservatives and progressives, should fight this.

In a radio interview American University constitutional law professor Jamin Raskin proposed some steps that can be taken to return democracy to the people.

Raskin stated that since the early 1800’s corporations have been viewed as artificial creations of the state, but the state does not have to permit its creature to consume it.

He says that first; the president should call for a constitutional amendment to declare that corporations are not persons having the right to political expression.

Second, Congress should pass legislation stating that if you do business with the federal government, you cannot spend money on federal elections.

Third, the great people of this country and shareholders in the companies should demand that corporations not spend money on elections; rather they should involve themselves in the economy by economic production.

Short sighted conservatives may view this ruling favorably, as an opportunity to get legislators elected that will defeat attempts to pass progressive health care or environmental legislation. If they look to the future, they will recognize this tactic actually takes the power away from them.

After all, my measly contributions to political efforts, and theirs as well, will have little or no effect when matched up against the billions of dollars that corporations can offer.

And that is not how democracy is supposed to work.

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You’ve seen the video of Justice Samuel Alito during the president’s speech. Here it is again if you want to refresh.