The Supremes Have Opened the Floodgates
By Sen. Russell Feingold
January 24, 2010
Sen. Russ Feingold
Published by CounterPunch.
Key Points About the Citizen’s United v. FEC Decision
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC has opened the floodgates to corporate money in federal campaigns in ways we haven’t seen for nearly a century. While for decades corporations have been able to set up special accounts, called PACs, to accept contributions and spend them on political activities, they have not been allowed to spend money from their vast corporate treasuries in connection with federal elections. Citizens United v. FEC has changed all that.
In this case, the Court took a narrow campaign finance issue and decided a much broader one—whether a century of laws protecting against corruption in government, laws which have been repeatedly upheld as constitutional, should suddenly be overturned. While the core of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), often known as McCain-Feingold, isn’t affected by this decision, the decision does eviscerate longstanding campaign finance law.
Below are some key points about the decision, and how the Court’s move to overrule Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1991) and portions of McConnell v. FEC (2003) will undermine our democratic process.
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