From the “If No One is Around When Democracy Dies, Does it Make a Sound?” Part 4
Super PACs empower the wealthiest donors, and the expansion of dark money through shadowy nonprofits that don’t disclose their donors. On the other hand, we know those being elected are well aware of who is making their donations and what they expect in return. They don’t sell their souls – they sell ours.
“Citizens United.” Doesn’t that sound like a great group to be part of? Doesn’t it sound so American? Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Citizens United. Their logo, an eagle head with the red and white flag stripes behind it. Americans united together, working together to the benefit of the people. But it was the exact opposite – the name, intentionally chosen to sound all-American, to keep your defenses down, to let it slide by while it’s intent was nefarious and to the control and destruction of the very people who were fooled by it.
In 2010 there were two landmark decisions that paved the way for the corporate control of our political system; one by the federal appeals court in Washington, SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, and the other, the U.S. Supreme Court ,Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission. Both ruled that the government cannot disallow corporations and unions from making “independent expenditures” for political uses. The Citizens United ruling also struck down FECA’s complete ban on corporate and union independent spending, originally passed as part of the Taft-Hartley law in 1947.
Their insane reasoning? Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that it would violate their First Amendment right of free speech to limit political spending from corporations. Their decision was based on a complete lack of any type of understanding of human nature, and specifically politicians and the dirty systems they work in. The majority of justices assumed (and you know what happens when we ass-u-me) that independent spending would be transparent and could not be corrupted. They said that by corporations and unions raising and using money for to support campaigns, that it “did not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
(Uh, are you shitting me?) This essentially means that Pfizer Pharmaceutical is no different than you for campaign financing (except of course they have $50 billion more cash flow than you). Wait, wait, it gets better – Super PACs have no limit on donations so they can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations and unions to advocate for, or against candidates of their choice. Their goal is to influence the outcome of state and federal elections (to put their person in office, the person that will do what they tell them to do, the person that will vote how they tell them to vote). Wait a minute…isn’t that the people’s job? It used to be but we’re only for appearance now…like the Queen (have you been practicing your wave?). The dissenting opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens stated, “At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.” You don’t have to have a law degree or be a judge to understand that truth, and apparently even when you have those things it doesn’t give you anymore wisdom than the thug on the street.
This is part 4 of the “Democracy Dies” series, covering the corruption surrounding PACS, SuperPACs, and how candidates pay for votes.
For part 3, go to https://altraged.com/2020/11/12/what-are-pacs-and-superpacs/