SCOTUS Votes for more corporate money in campaign finance.
In a decision that has people on both sides of the aisle pretty angry the Supreme Court of the United States of America today ruled 5 - 4 that severe restrictions on how corporations spend money to support campaigns was a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of political speech.
It seems this case was particularly interested in a film supporting Hilary Clinton created for the 2008 Presidential Election. Historically, it was believed that a provision of the McCain-Feingold Bill disallowed this. Now, however, the supposed restriction has been lifted by this decision.
This ruling doesn’t matter very much right now. This ruling hasn’t changed any of the laws regarding corporations donating to an individuals campaign, those remain intact. However, we should be worried about what happens going forward from here.
Will we next decide that corporations should be able to give money in any amount to candidates? I am mixed on this issue. On one side I think we need to consider the traditional libertarian stance regarding the government’s meddling. I don’t want my world regulated by the government. Unfortunately, this position fails to address the problem we currently have in American politics. One of the many things that keeps viable third parties from emerging is the issue of money and how much it takes to run a successful campaign, not to mention the money required to organize people and get a third party on the ballots in each state.
Some people want to believe that if a third party appealed to enough people then they would be able to raise enough money to be competitive. Sadly, 30 second videos and 90 minute films paid for by corporate interests, lobbying groups, and political action committees provide a cacophony of sound to drown out small-time candidates before they can even build a following.
Personally, I don’t want politics in my country to be driven by dollar signs. I don’t care about infringing on a person’s, or a corporation’s,Â First Amendment freedom of political speech by restricting how much money they can give to a candidate. Frankly, I’m a bit appaled that money spent is what we think of as Fredom of Speech in this country now. For a country that was founded by a people unable to disagree with their monarch without fear of retribution you’d expect us to be happy with our ability to dissent, but instead we aren’t happy unless the wealthy can use their piles of cash as tools for change, the kind of change they think is best for them.
I don’t often agree with President Obama but this time he has summed up the issue perfectly calling this decision “a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics”. Though I definitely haven’t forgotten how big a part fund raising played in his campaign.