Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I commented yesterday on the "the deleterious effect of Citizens United v. FEC and the demon Super-PACs it spawned. The GOP candidates are no more than surrogates for their dueling billionaire benefactors who want to own a president, and the country."
It gets worse, folks. Waaay worse. Think Progress reports Republican National Committee Files Brief Seeking To Allow Corporate Funding Of Campaigns:
One of the few remaining limits on corporations’ power to buy and sell American elections is that corporations are not allowed to give money directly to federal candidates. Citizens United frees them to spend billions of dollars running ads or otherwise trying to change the result of an election to suit their interests, but corporations cutting checks directly to candidates or to political committees such as the Republican National Committee is one of the few things the Supreme Court’s conservatives have not yet imposed upon the country.
If the RNC gets its way, however, that will soon change. In a brief filed yesterday in the Fourth Circuit, the RNC argues that the federal ban on corporate donations is unconstitutional in large part because it applies across the board to all corporations:
Most corporations are not large entities waiting to flood the political system with contributions to curry influence. Most corporations are small businesses. As the Court noted in Citizens United, “more than 75% of corporations whose income is taxed under federal law have less than $1 million in receipts per year,” while “96% of the 3 million businesses that belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have fewer than 100 employees.” While the concept of corporate contributions evokes images of organizations like Exxon or Halliburton, with large numbers of shareholders and large corporate treasuries, the reality is that most corporations in the United States are small businesses more akin to a neighborhood store. Yet § 441b does not distinguish between these different types of entities; under § 441b, a corporation is a corporation. As such, it is over-inclusive.
This attempt to make mom and pop stores — as opposed to Halliburton — the face of the RNC’s argument is clever, but it does not change the implications of their argument. If a court accepted the RNC’s argument, it would have to strike down the entire federal ban on corporate donations — leaving Exxon and Halliburton free to give money to any candidate they’d like.
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Moreover, if the court accepts the RNC’s argument, it will effectively destroy any limits on the amount of money wealthy individuals or corporation can give to candidates. In most states, all that is necessary to form a new corporation is to file the right paperwork in the appropriate government office. Moreover, nothing prevents one corporation from owning another corporation. For this reason, a Wall Street tycoon who wanted to give as much as a billion dollars to fund a campaign could do so simply by creating a series of shell corporations that exist for the sole purpose of evading the ban on massive dollar donations to candidates.
Our democratic Republic is under assault from corporations. We need to amend the Constitution to make it clear that money is not speech, and corporations are not people. Or we will soon all find ourselves indentured servants to a corporatocracy.
UPDATE: Is this supposed to make us feel better? Closing a Citizens United loophole: “In a terse four words, the Supreme Court on Monday issued an order upholding prohibitions against foreigners making contributions to influence American elections. The decision clamped shut an opening that some thought the court had created two years ago in its Citizens United decision, when it relaxed campaign-finance limits on corporations and labor unions.”
We've been over this territory before. When corporations give money to the Chicoms Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber does not maintain segregated accounts for its U.S. corporate donors and its overseas multi-national corporate donors; the funds are comingled into a single account. Since that revelation was reported I have not seen any reporting that this sloppy accounting procedure has been corrected by the Chamber. So it is entirely possible, indeed likely, that foreign money has already been used to influence American elections through the Chamber's political activities. The Chamber denies this, but it never made its books available for a forensic audit to back up its denial. It simply said "trust us."