US Supreme Court: Money Does Not Corrupt Political Process
Susanne Posel (OC) : The US Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling , decided that there cannot be caps on financial contributions to campaigns, Political Action Committees or parties because to restrict this practice would be unconstitutional. Aggregate limits, the USSC stated, was a violation of the 1st Amendment.
Dissenting opinions revealed that “the caps were constitutional as a means to guard against corruption and circumvention of the still-valid limits on donations to individual campaigns and political committees.” Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito ruled that aggregate limits “do not prevent corruption”. The Justices wrote:
“This Court has identified only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. We have consistently rejected attempts to suppress campaign speech based on other legislative objectives. No matter how desirable it may seem, it is not an acceptable governmental objective to ‘level the playing field,’ or to ‘level electoral opportunities,’ or to ‘equalize the financial resources of candidates…’ The First Amendment prohibits such legislative attempts to ‘fine-tune’ the electoral process, no matter how well intentioned.”
Contribution limits were upheld in the 1976 case Buckley v. Valeo. Since the USSC ruled in favor of Citizens United (CU), the political temperament of the nation has altered. Justice Anthony Kennedy explained that CU gives the
“appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy”; however ““the fact that speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt.”
Kennedy stated that with the growing popularity and dependency on the internet “prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters…This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and giver proper weight to different speakers and messages.”
Bradley Smith, election expert, and founder of the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) said :
“Citizens United has become the all-purpose boogeyman. Whatever you hate about campaigns, blame Citizens United.”
CU supports corruption in politics as it established corporate “personhood” which is a legal fiction that is enacted as if it were true. The emphasis on money paves the way for censorship of the 1st Amendment because CU promises that those with the money can purchase legislation that suits them.
CU has allowed corporations and unions to coerce with cash and control members of Capitol Hill that can be purchased. It is clear, through research, that since CU spending has increased for midterm elections.
Republicans have received noticeable amounts of cash from individuals and corporations that want to make sure their favorite candidate makes it to office. The GOP has invested in more TV adverts.
CU can be seen as responsible for injecting cash into the hands of non-profit organizations because disclosures of amounts are not required.
Brendan Doherty, a political scientist at the US Naval Academy, explained how presidents raise money. Doherty said:
“The combination of rising campaign costs and contribution limits that were low relative to those costs for decades led presidents to spend increasing amounts of their scarcest resource, their time, raising campaign funds. Citizens United accelerated these dynamics, as the prospect of outside groups receiving contributions in the millions provided an even greater incentive for President Obama to spend a great deal of time raising money in the increments in the low thousands required by campaign finance law.”
Susanne Posel, Occupy Corporatism
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