Man, this just hasn’t been a good week for progressives. Sierra Club press release. Also posted below. You can read more in the Washington Post. Below the press release is President Obama’s statement. NY Times also has an editorial on it which is below the Obama statement.
High Court Unleashes Tsunami of
Corporate Cash with Citizens United Ruling
Washington, D.C.–The U.S. Supreme Court today, in its ruling in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,struck down significant portions of campaign finance laws. In particular, the case removed restrictions in place for decades that have limited campaign spending from corporations. The Sierra Club offered the following comments in response.
The High Court’s ruling can be viewed here:
Statement of Cathy Duvall, Political Director of Sierra Club
“We are extremely troubled and dismayed by today’s decision. It appears that the High Court confirmed our worst fears with its sweeping ruling that cast aside the laws that protected us from unlimited corporate campaign spending.
“Congress is already awash in a sea of special interest money; this decision will launch a tsunami of corporate cash whose purpose is to overrun the public’s interests. Big Oil, Dirty Coal, and other special interests have a stranglehold on the Congress and today’s ruling will further endanger the ability of citizens to influence the political process. This ruling could put today’s “pay-to-play” political culture on steroids.
“We already have very clear indications of the dangers that lie ahead. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been involved in today’s case, reported just yesterday that it spent a record-breaking $71 million on lobbying last quarter. Even before today’s decision, it has already been laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate cash, most notably for the health insurance industry and polluters, and has pledged to spend tens of millions of dollars in this year’s elections. Now it and the special interests that fund it will be allowed to spend limitless amounts not only in the legislative process, but to support or oppose individual candidates.
“Now only Congress can stem the tidal wave of special interest cash and influence peddling that is about to overwhelm the electoral process. The Sierra Club has long supported campaign finance reform and we now urge Congress to find a solution to help candidates combat the expected increase in spending on independent expenditures. In particular, we support passage of the Fair Elections Now Act.”
With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington–while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That’s why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.
NY Times editorial:
With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding. Congress must act immediately to limit the damage of this radical decision, which strikes at the heart of democracy.