Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling reversing the McCain-Feingold federal campaign-finance law is a victory for special interest groups and a bigger win for free speech in the United States. The 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission will stop the government from regulating political speech of corporations.
President Obama quickly responded with a statement claiming, “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans” Mr. President, we already felt that way, except you can add unions and bureaucracies to that list. On the eve of Obamacare dying, it also amused me that he says “I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue.”
The President wasn’t the only one riled up by the decision. The New York Times, the CREW, and the most of the media conveyed similar sentiments. My favorite would be Keith Olbermann’s special comment last night.
Apparently, free speech has come to an end and corporations will control every aspect of life with its money.
Ironically, this decision grew out of a 2008 federal ban on the showing of a documentary film, Hillary: The Movie, in which the movie’s criticized, then candidate, Hillary Clinton. McCain-Feingold allowed the Federal Election Commission to stop the showing of the film because a corporation produced it, even though the corporation in question was a NONPROFIT.
This case showed the way the FEC used law to protect politicians from the effects of free speech and knowledge. In this case in particular, the electoral process was protected from propaganda not corrupting influence. To be clear, Corporations and the like have had their spending limits uncapped, not to the individual candidate but to political ads. I suppose we could see some irresponsible spending by corporations to flood the airways with political jargon and in turn corrupting or influencing races.
Obama and others would have you believe that these special interests and big business are all in the pockets of Republicans. However the insurance companies and bank bailouts coupled with the heavy donations from Goldman Sachs to Democratic candidates shows there is plenty of money on each side of the aisle. Unions and Left-leaning groups will all have chance to spend their share of money to politicize its views. Here is the federal campaign finance website. You can see for yourself that Democratic party is not suffering from a lack of contributions.
My point here is simply that the more money spent on influencing opinion and spreading information the better. Let the Republic decide for itself what is acceptable and what is not. We don’t need the Government to shield us from interest groups.