Political Book Summaries, Reviews and Opinions

Political Book Summaries, Reviews and Opinions

Loophole Allows Anonymous Corporate Attacks

So, here’s the bottom line deal, using a non-profits who deal with more than just political attacks, Corporations are allowed to

A. Spend unlimited money on electioneering and
B. Hide that money so no one knows who’s funding the attacks

The actual result is well-connected people will establish such non-profits. Set them up with some side-job, like helping homeless people or caring for sick old people. Something really nice like. Then, they’ll be able to get unlimited donations from corporate donors and spend that money however they want. But, because they are set up for more than just attacks ads, they’re allowed to run attack ads without telling anyone where the money is coming from.

Expect some start up non-profits with names like “American’s who love children and rainbows” to take a hard look at any Senator threatening Wall Street.

The Supreme Court decision last month allowing corporations to spend unlimited money on behalf of political candidates left a loophole that campaign finance lawyers say could allow companies to pay for extensive political advertising while avoiding the disclosure requirements the court appeared to leave intact.

Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York proposes requiring nonprofit groups to identify donors for political advertising.
Experts say the ruling, along with a pair of earlier Supreme Court cases, makes it possible for corporations and unions to donate anonymously to nonprofit civic leagues and trade associations. The groups can then use the money to finance the types of political advertisements that were at the heart of last month’s ruling, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Well before the Citizens United case, certain types of nonprofit organizations were able to pump millions of dollars into “electioneering communications” — highly pointed commercials about political issues that can even mention specific candidates — without revealing their donors.



7 responses to “Loophole Allows Anonymous Corporate Attacks

  1. Patrick Sperry March 1, 2010 at 1:06 am

    And the various PAC’s etc were crippled by the ruling in just what ways..?

    The only true difference is that now people such as myself can speak our views right up till election day.

    Guess Liberty and Freedom hurts your cause huh?

    • The BookGuy March 1, 2010 at 1:12 am

      “The only true difference is that now people such as myself can speak our views right up till election day.”

      Excuse me, but you are not a coporation. Even if you own one or are on the board of one, you are not a Corporation.

      “Guess Liberty and Freedom hurts your cause huh?”

      Absolutely not. That’s insulting. Are you insulting intentionally or accidentially? Either way, the Liberty and Freedom to interfere with US elections, as valuable as they are, do not belong in the hands of non-US citizens. Or does not allowing foreign citizens to dillute Americans hurt your cause?

      • Patrick Sperry March 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

        Neither, just stating facts. This ruling did nothing to stop the PAC’s. But it does mean that like minded people such as myself that have banded together can speak out on whatever the issue is. read the actual history behind the law that was struck down. It was a rather blatant ruse to shut up groups like Gun Owners of America, and the NRA.

        As for foreign influence? I’m with you there! Groups like the Joyce Foundation and Brady campaign that are funded in a very large measure by George Soros, as is ACORN, and the list just goes on…

      • The BookGuy March 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm

        I both work for a corporation, and am a board member of a family corporation. I assure you, I am not a “like minded” person with eithe rmy boss or the owner of the Corporation I work for. Likewise, as a boardmember of the family corporation (earning something in the ballpark of 30,000 a year) I am not a “like minded” person in that corporation. So when you suggest that Corporations are groups of “like minded people” that is disingenuous at best. Horribly false at worse.

        It is a horrible misunderstanding of what a Corporation is. It’s not a fan club or a facebook page or a political party. It’s a business. There is absolutely nothing “like minded” about corporations. My boss pays me to show, I show up. At my last job (also for a corporation) we were heavily discouraged from any discussion of politics while at work. It’s considered taboo to discuss politics at work. To then turn around and claim that they are “like minded” people, is completely and absolutely wrong. They are paid people. I absolutely positively do not want my boss talking for me in any form of political sense.

        As for your conspiracy theory that campaign finance is a way to slap down the NRA, well, that’s equally wrong. Since the ruling just changed, and you know about the NRA from before the ruling, clearly the law didn’t shut them up.

  2. talkandpolitics March 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

    of course.. the money runs through some quirky channels, and the trace gets broken somewhere..

    i’ve said it before.. but i think the whole thing is some adjustment to the webfunding in ’08. too much democracy – and the oligarchy had to respond..

  3. Patrick Sperry March 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    There are quotes available concerning the real goals of that law.
    “The late Sen. Paul Wellstone had said during the original debate over this legislation that it was his intention to silence groups like the NRA. While the author of this measure had singled out the NRA, this law delivered a clear message to all American citizens: “Keep your mouths shut and stay out of our political debates.”

    Much more here http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=Paul+Wellstone+%2B+NRA&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=Paul+Wellstone+%2B+NRA&fp=c26c79a56c95bda8

    As for corporations? I could care less if they speak out about things that concern the business or their stockholders. One example would be the coal industry chiming in on cap and trade. I mean heck, stop coal mining, and roughly one third of the people in my state would be out of work.

    • The BookGuy March 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm

      Firstly, thank you for the link. I appreciate when people post sources.

      Second, here’s a link of my own. http://wp.me/pygne-sy It is to a post of mine about “The Freedom to Listen”. You can read the whole thing if you have the time, the whole post is relevant to this. But, at the very bottom I added a final note. That note explains that, as a matter of intellectual consistency, the problem I had with the ruling wasn’t that “corporations” could overwhelm the political process, but that anybody could (and that includes the NRA, Sierra club or any other group). The key word though, is overwhelm.

      You see, the prior to the Citizens United Ruling that Coal Company was allowed to film commercials, print newsletters, create WebPages, and advertise their merchandise and their website however they wanted. The NRA could (and did) print up pamphlets talking about their issues. Exxon could and did have a newsletter that talked about their issues. The Sierra Club could and did run a magazine that talked about their issues. In all those things they could directly electioneer their points of views. All of that is and was protected Freedom of Speech.

      The line drawn wasn’t about “shutting up” groups like the NRA. The NRA and all groups and corporations had full rights to say anything they wanted. It was about preventing them from overwhelming the political discourse with spending. That’s all. Much I think it’s constitutional to pass laws preventing people from walking down Main Street with a bullhorn shouting unlimited volume into peoples ears, I think it’s constitutional to pass laws preventing groups of people from spending unlimited money.

      Understand that concept really well. If you go by a strict reading of the “no law” prevision, then you must also believe that “no law” can limit anyone from using a bullhorn to shout over people they disagree with. But, we as a nation accept as a matter of civility and fairness, that everyone should be able to be heard. If we remove all laws limiting the influence of money in politics, then we allow corporations and large groups to shout over anyone they disagree with. I don’t want to silence those corporations or the NRA or anyone else. I just want them to use a civil volume when they speak. That is, according to long standing court precedent, perfectly constitutional.
      But to you I pose two simple questions. Suppose in your home district there are two candidates running for House Representative. Each candidate raises a comparable sum of money (let’s say 2 million each). They each run their campaign as they see fit. One runs a few more commercials, the other has a few more paid staffers, etc., It’s a pretty fair campaign. Let’s call them Bob and Susan. Bob is a smart fair and legitimate candidate. You support Susan (for whatever reasons). Polls show them neck and neck. You’ve donated some money to her campaign. One of the things you like about her is that she discovered that Corporation X has been given intentionally unfair subsidies worth $20 billion. She’s promised to remove those unfair subsidies and lower everyone’s taxes.

      Question 1: Suppose Susan is giving a stump speech, and Corporation uses twelve truck loaded speakers to blast out a commercial so no one can hear Susan speak. Do you support enforcing a law that limits that volume so that she can be fairly heard?

      Question 2: Since Corporation X stands to lose $20 billion a year, they decide to spend attacking Susan. Is there any point, including up to and including $20 billion, that you would agree they were simply overwhelming the system and preventing her from being fairly heard?

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