It is good news for corporate America that the Supreme Court overturned a ruling that prohibited companies from using money from their general treasuries to produce and run their own campaign ads.
The ruling by a 5-4 vote ends a twenty-year-old limit on corporate influence on federal campaigns for president and Congress. The ruling may allow labor unions to engage in campaigns without restraint, and the ruling may affect limitations in 24 states.
The ruling lets stand the limitation on direct contributions from corprations and unions to candidates, with no affect on PACs that set limits on the amount individuals may contribute to a candidate. PAC funding is with voluntary donations from individuals and employees, but not from a corporation or union’s treasuries.
As is usually the case, the Conservative majority found that the old ruling “restrained the vibrant public discourse that is at the foundation of our democracy,’ said Chief Justice Roberts. How awesome that there is no ‘vibrant discourse’ in the country now, what with the freedom of speech, press and expression guaranteed in the Constitution, one would think every person has a say.
Now, corporations can donate without limitations to buy a candidate, much like Fox News recently bought Sarah Palin for an undisclosed amount. And how convenient they can give their candidate 24 hour campaign coverage and buy airtime on the other networks to achieve total domination fitting an oligarchy.
This is an incredibly bad ruling that stems from a case in which a movie, that was critical of Hilary Rodham Clinton, was in fact a movie-length campaign advertisement. The federal courts said the movie looked and sounded like a campaign ad, and must follow the regulations for a campaign ad. That decision was unacceptable and the smear-monger moviemakers filed a lawsuit.
Since Conservatives do not like regulations, it is no surprise the conservative wing of the Supreme Court removed the regulations in the guise of ‘free speech’. So the ‘free’ part of free speech now will go to the highest bidder, without restrictions or regulations.
This ruling opens up the coffers of corporate America as if they need any more power and influence over lawmakers, and opens up the individual citizen to a corporate raping. It is interesting that at least the majority left intact the McCain-Feingold law that says political ads must disclose the names of the purchasers, so at least Americans will know who owns the candidate, and who they really work for.
As Common Cause president and former Congressman from Pennsylvania Bob Edgar said, “it’s the Super Bowl of bad decisions,” and he understates the gravity of the ruling. In a 20-minute dissenting opinion, Justice Stevens said, “this ruling undermines the integrity” of political institutions in this country.
When corporate America buys political offices at their pleasure, the workers of America will suffer, and the conservatives achieve their goal of ‘incorporating’ America. Then, the big oil funded Tea Party movement, and corporations like Fox News will buy our leaders; and individual Americans will have bought the farm.