In 2010, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. This decision in Citizens United v. FEC opened the door to unlimited corporate contributions to their candidates of choice. It also produced a multitude of Super PACs and sparked a boom in political activity by tax-exempt “dark money” organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors.
Since that ruling, campaign spending by Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate, the Koch brothers and a handful of other billionaire families has fundamentally undermined American democracy. A record $7 billion was spent in the 2012 election cycle, including at least $400 million by the Koch brothers alone.
Now in 2014, the Supreme Court, in another 5-4 vote, has made it even easier for extremely rich donors like the Koch brothers and Adelson to buy our democracy. The Supreme Court struck down overall campaign contribution limits. The law that the ruling voided has prevented individuals from contributing more than $123,000 to candidates and party committees per election cycle.This decision determined that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. This will unleash unprecedented amounts of spending by these super-wealthy conservative activists just in time for the upcoming 2014 elections.
Overall caps don’t further the “only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or its appearance,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority ruling.
Justice Stephen Breyer, in the dissent, summarized the conservative majority’s ruling perfectly: “If the court in Citizens United opened a door, today’s decision we fear will open a floodgate. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institution. It creates, we think, a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign.”
And so the destruction of America continues to unfold. Our voice in government (our elected representatives in Congress) and the caretakers of our constitutional rights (our Supreme Court judges) are now bought and paid for by the ultra-rich.
The wealthy conservative billionaires now have five conservative Supreme Court justices willing to do their bidding. This latest gift from their puppet Supreme Court justices allow them to legally bribe the congress with billions of campaign funds to lower taxes and regulations for them.
Senator Bernie Sanders asked “What world are the five conservative Supreme Court justices living in? To equate the ability of billionaires to buy elections with ‘freedom of speech’ is totally absurd. The Supreme Court is paving the way toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson will control our political process.
If banning outright bribery of our elected officials by corporations and the ultra-rich is unconstitutional, we have a problem. Even worse, we cannot reach out to our highest court in America for help and protection because they are shoulder-deep in this slime of corruption themselves.