"""The Supreme Court took a big step this week in extending corporate power in the electoral arena. In a 5-4 decision, the court struck down limits on interest groups wishing to directly fund campaign ads in the run-up to national elections. Previous rules – including the 2002 bi-partisan campaign reform act – prohibited corporations from directly funding campaign ads in Congressional races, either in favor of, or against individual candidates. Those rules have been struck down in this new decision. Previously, rules regulating spending merely required that corporate interests channel their money through formal mediums; corporations were required to filter spending through political action committees (PACs), and were still able to spend unlimited amounts on “issue ads,” although not on ads attacking specific candidates. In this sense, the Supreme Court’s ruling should not be seen as a milestone so much as one of many recent rulings seeking to strengthen corporate power. Buckley v. Valeo (1976) represents one of the earlier efforts to expand the voice of corporations, as the Supreme Court ruled that spending money on campaign contributions was a constitutionally protected form of free speech. The Supreme Court also struck down a portion of the 2002 bi-partisan campaign reform act in 2007, which prohibited corporations and unions from financing political ads during the two months before general elections and the month before primaries.
The rationale for easing campaign finance laws was provided in a majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, proclaiming that “speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people…Political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it, whether by design or inadvertently.” Undergirding the court’s rationale is the assumption that money does not pervert the electoral process, but is in fact vital to it. Philosophically, campaign spending is seen as nothing more than a form of political expression – to be wielded by any group or individual who wishes to lobby for or against candidates running for office.
There are good reasons to reject the notion that campaign money is a form of free speech that nurtures democracy. One particular danger from the Supreme Court’s actions is the increased probability that businesses will stifle progressive change. Officials who enthusiastically support corporate power may be rewarded by massive increases in spending on issue and candidate ads that benefit them during re-election, while candidates who support progressive reform will be the subject of an organized business onslaught that is without financial restrictions.""""
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Pops Kennedy, scholar of the classics and top-ranking judicial mind in the USA, has a profound insight to share with the plebes of the USA: "money talks." Alas, Kennedy, one of the current papist majority on SCOTUS, didn't quite master the finer points of Aristotle's Politics. The Stagirite opposed despotism, at least in principle, including the financial sort. As does catholic tradition--at least in principle, though Padres might make exceptions when a powerful papist judge has a few million pesos to donate to his favorite catholic charity--yo, Nuestra Señora de Usura Perpetua...
This decision may seem trivial, meaningless, or boring as a Beatles medley at a Ramada on I-80. When the CA gubernational battle heats up, it may not seem so meaningless. Maybe they should post campaign financing bids on e-bay.