Tag Archives: paid speech

Judge Rules Money Trumps Fair Campaigns

A Federal Judge in Tacoma has ruled that the unfettered flow of money is equivalent to free speech in elections. The problem is that corporations and wealthy individuals have more money than average citizens and hence can buy more “free speech”.

The ruling throws out a Washington State law that limited individual contributions to campaigns to a maximum of $5000 per contribution in the last three weeks. The intent was to limit the influx of huge amounts of money right before an election that could put out false statements that opponents did not have the ability to respond to effectively.

Why this ruling is absurd is that both sides in an initiative for example had to comply with the same rules. It was not like one side was getting special treatment. Unfortunately now corporations and special interests can dump in huge amounts of money at the last minute without the ability of the opposing side or the media to respond to what can be false or erroneous statements. That is why the law was put in place.

The argument that the ability to spend any amount of money one wants in initiative campaigns is exercising free speech is absurd. Money buys paid speech. The Seattle Times article notes that already some $32.5 million has been spent on 6 initiatives this year.

The lawsuit was brought by Family PAC which opposed Referendum 71 last year. Referendum 71 passed 53% to 47% and expanded rights for domestic partners. It was opposed by conservative groups.

Corporate America Planning to Spend Record Amount in Congressional Elections

Republicans last week did the dirty work for the US Chamber of Commerce – their buddies. The Chamber lobbied hard against tougher campaign finance disclosure laws in Congress. Republicans in the Senate voted unanimously to block the legislation from being voted on. Republicans don’t want the public knowing who is going to be spending tons of money in their behalf to try to bring back the conservative’s failed free market economics with its lack of regulation and accountability that contributed heavily to our present lingering Recession.

As reported in the LA Times,

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest collection point for corporate contributions, has increased its spending for the congressional election in November from $35 million in 2008 to a projected $75 million this year. Officials say it may go even higher.

The chamber has been joined by new conservative fundraising organizations — such as American Crossroads, affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove — that have committed to raising tens of millions of dollars.

One report circulating among Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill last week estimated that more than $300 million has been budgeted for the campaign by a group of 15 conservative tax-exempt organizations.

“A commitment of $300 million from just 15 organizations is a huge amount, putting them in record territory for groups on the right or left,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign contributions. “With control of Congress hanging in the balance, this kind of spending could have a major impact.”

The US Chamber of Commerce loves all this hype and obviously isn’t denying their attempt to influence the elections through this profligate paid speech.  They even posted the article on their website.

Decisions by the conservative majority of the US Supreme Court have opened the floodgates of paid media. Forget free speech – do you think  “free speech” can compete with “paid speech” of this magnitude? One has to hope that their lavish spending turns the public off and those concerned about corporate America’s blatant attempt to buy a Congress to do their dirty work out and vote.

Democrats and independents concerned about this country being run by corporate America need to reject the failed policies of the Republicans. This is a crucial election for the future of our country. Get out and vote.