Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This Court Decision Could Create Corporate Sugar Daddies For Politicians

Who has more money for campaign donations, the average American or the average corporation?

Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Take Part

Now that corporations are people, the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding if the super-rich can become sugar daddies for politicians, capable of making unlimited donations directly to candidates.

In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee are challenging the government's right to put any limits at all on campaign contributions. A ruling in their favor would go beyond the Citizens United ruling and remove limits from the amount that can be donated in a federal election directly to a candidate.

The campaign finance mayhem began in 2010 when the high court's Citizens United decision allowed corporations to have the same rights to free expression as people, namely, the right to give political donations.

Now, since corporations are people, they want to be best buddies with politicians, and could get the opportunity to do so if Republicans get their way in a new case that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

No limits. A candidate could literally be showered with millions of dollars by a corporation.

How likely is the court to take that route?

UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler believes it's very likely to happen, because the court has been hostile to campaign finance laws since Chief Justice John Roberts took charge.

"This Supreme Court has struck down every campaign finance law that has come before it," Winkler said.

That's something considering every campaign season sets new records on campaign donations received, and there's more and more spending in federal politics every election cycle.

"Citizens United freed up a lot of corporations and unions, but many have still stayed on the sidelines. This would allow wealthy individuals to just give to candidate after candidate after candidate," said Winkler.

In effect, that would allow corporations to use the constitutional rights of people to the umpteenth exponent.

That's because very few people can match the buying power of a corporation when it comes to expendable income.

So, doesn't allowing corporations the right of free expression mean that businesses will have a bigger bullhorn in American democracy than people do?

Yes, it does.