Fill me with soma and let the corporations decide what to do with me.

Where are all the cries coming from right-wingers about activist judges?  Our politicians are already overly influenced by corporations, now they are going to be selected by corporations too.  Great!  And it isn’t just GE, Exxon, Citibank, Wal-Mart or UnitedHealth we need to worry about.  There is nothing to stop a Saudi or Chinese corporation from buying ads to influence our elections now.  Thanks Supreme Court. 

Thanks for setting the course for all those sci-fi movies and futuristic books with mega-corporations running the world.   When do they start determining who costs too much to live – oh wait, insurance companies already do!  Pfizer can start feeding us soma to keep us happy, Wal-Mart can instruct us in what is OK to buy, and UnitedHealth can start eliminating the surplus population that costs us a little too much as a society.

Do you think I am overreacting?  Think about a local election.  The total campaign expenditures in 2008 for both candidates in my house district 36B was under $50,000.  What is stopping a company from spending $50,000 or $100,000 on one candidate to send their own henchman to the State House?  How much do they spend on lobbyists?  Who needs a lobbyist when a company can have their own Joe Leiberman.

And what about the cost of ads now?  With the influx of spending, the cost will go up.  It’s called supply and demand.  That will make it harder for a local candidate to afford to advertise.  It will make running a campaign even more expensive, thus more beholden to big money.

Let’s be honest.  Republicans have got to be most happy about this decision.  Not because they will likely benefit from more corporate spending than Democrats, but because the onslaught of commercials will just turn more people off to politics.  The fewer people engaged the better Republicans do.  Suppressing the number of voters is good news for the GOP.

Republican leadership is spewing first amendment talking point trash, but the only ‘persons” who will soon have first amendment rights will be “persons” with money.  John McCain has every right to be “disappointed” Mitch McConnell.


5 thoughts on “Fill me with soma and let the corporations decide what to do with me.”

  1. If I remember correctly, this decision would apply to labor unions as well, which tend to support Democratic candidates and causes. Also, corporations are hardly staunch Republicans given BigPharma’s support of Obamacare.

    No matter how much money is dumped into a district, elections are still decided by people, the same people who may choose to stop supporting a corporation that leans in too partisan a direction. It wouldn’t be good for their business image to alienate 1/3 of the electorate by going for one party or another.

    This decision isn’t the end of the world and the sky will not fall because of it. It’s a matter of free political speech.

  2. This ruling may have sparked anger yet haven’t corporations been funding lobbyists groups impacting our society … and those dollars work their way to think tanks that may be tax-exempt “educational” organizations … who will then pay for retreats for Congressmen and write op-eds … for example The Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and contributions are tax-deductible for income taxes (federal tax identification number is 23-7327730).

    In fact, if Citizens United (the plantiff in the case) had funded the movie through its PAC instead through its general funds, they wouldn’t have had a problem. Their mistake gave the Roberts (err Bush) Court an opening to become activist judges.

    Here’s my thoughts.
    #1. Put a surtax on any advertising over a certain amount (tell the truth would you care if the nightly news didn’t have so many pharmaceutical commercials … or the sporting event not have so many beer and car commercials.)
    #2. Require corporations disclose … then let the buyer decide who they want to support.
    #3. Require a shareholder vote to approve these disbursements (you’ve heard the commercial that your union dues cannot be used for political purposes without your consent.)

    Yes, you are correct that the spending on campaigns is ridiculous. The recent SD-26 Special Election was over $50k. That was a shorten election … and the result was that less than 30% of the eligible voters participated … or look at NY-23 where the Club for Growth spent oodles of money to support the Conservative Party candidate … in the end the result was that people did not participate … with a population of over 600,000 only an estimated 135,000 decided to cast ballots. To put that in perspective, in 2002 – an off-year election, John McHugh ran unopposed but still generated 124,682 votes.

    Here would be my suggestion :
    A.) An incumbent cannot spend more than 10% then his previous election (with incumbency, they probably don’t need more than the previous election).
    B.) All candidates must participate in League of Women Voter debates that should be broadcast over local television and radio as well as the Internet ( public funding to pay for the transmission from the sur-tax mentioned in #1.)
    C.) Campaigns may not transfer funds to PAC or to other campaigns or the national committee … this will force candidates to only generate enough funds that they will be able to spend (see Cap listed above in A.)

    Lastly, it will fall on bloggers to educate the public about the candidates. The media may not do the job … the MPR story on Jason Engbrecht cited discredited school board attendance issues instead of policy differences … voters hear the allegations and not the facts.

  3. Tim Walz has introduced HR 4617, the Separate Taxpayer dollars from the Election Process Act, which will prohibit Wall Street banks and other corporate recipients of public bailout funds from using these tax dollars to influence the outcome of elections in the United States. It requires corporations receiving funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (commonly known as the bank bailout) to segregate the funds from other operating funds and prohibits the use of these funds for electioneering communication.

    Walz wrote : “It was wrong that American taxpayers had to bail out Wall Street banks for their reckless behavior. It is outrageous these same Wall Street banks can now use your taxpayer money to run TV attacks ads attempting to elect or defeat candidates for public office. My bill is one of a multi-prong legislative approach now being debated in the halls of Congress about how to close these new corporate special interest loopholes and protect the public’s interest over corporate special interests.

    Sounds like a good step until I read this Chamber of Commerce / Healthcare Reform article. The article questions the relationship between Chamber of Commerce members (such as are banks which were bailed out by taxpayers and still have not repaid the TARP funds) and lobbying against healthcare reform. For instance, New York Private Bank & Trust received TARP funds and still owes $254,892,509 back to the government. Diana Cantor, the bank’s managing director, is a board member of the Chamber Foundation and wife of Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), two leading opponents of reform. How can taxpayers be reassured that Cantor’s bank, and other bailed out Chamber banks, are not using taxpayer dollars to fund the Chamber’s anti-reform activities?

    While Walz should be commended for his desires, his legislation will just add another step to the process with TARP recipients funneling the monies to the Chamber of Commerce or some other advocacy group.

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