Supreme Court to Rule on Corporate Financing of Political Campaigns

So I have some questions about this ruling

  1. How big of a change from pre-existing laws is this? How is this different than ‘soft money’ in the 1990s or 527s? It seems this is no different than soft money except now you can explicitly tell people who to vote for or against (rather than just imply it).

  2. Why would there be no limits on what unions and corporations can donate if individuals are limited to $4600 to individual candidates and $23000 to parties?

  3. When they say a corporation is an individual, do they have to consider who makes the decision in that corporation? Will donations of money be done the same in a sole proprietorship as they would be in a publicly traded company with a board of directors, CEO and president?

If a CEO decides to give a billion to candidates he likes, why is that a ‘corporate’ donation and not a donation from the ‘CEO’? If there are 40 people involved in a decision to donate money (the board of directors, president, CEO) they why aren’t they limited to the $4600 per person donation rule?

Are there legal rules about how money is donated via a corporation? Can one of the Walton Kids start a front corporation and donate 5 million? Why wouldn’t that be a violation of limits on personal donations?

  1. What about donations from international corporations? Will those be regulated?


As Paul Simon said, “No matter who wins, you lose.” Try to think of a few federal politicians of any stripe not in the corporate pocket.

When a “liberal” administration is finds it politically expedient to allow big pharma to dictate unbid contracts to Medicare, it ought to give anyone pause for thought. And don’t get me started on the ACLU which just successfully supported SCOTUS in its decision to declare the US Treasury a corporate slush fund.

Regarding NBC, they are protected under the Bill of Rights separately – freedom of the press and all that.

This case comes from a 90 minute anti Hillary movie that Fox people put together. It has such fair minded people as Coulter and other Fox favorites explaining how evil and dangerous she is. Since they are corporations and have access (ownership), of Tv stations, they could freely run it as much as they wanted to.
It would be 10 times as bad as running “Sicko” on prime time during the health care debate. The difference being “Sicko” is actually rooted in fact . This movie was a hack job. Now they can do that if they want ,as often as they want .
This decision came from Roberts, Alito, Scalia and his caddy and part time "personal ball washer’, Thomas. The first 3 were corporate attorneys.
Don’t presume the founding fathers were pro corporate and we are fulfilling the principles they wanted. They actually chartered corporations and were willing to revoke charters if corporations did not act responsibly. They had a Boston Tea Party over their love of corporations. The British corporations were looting and controlling the colonies. The founding fathers were careful to keep corporations under control. Now they are free at last, free at last.

I have a few problems with this ruling.

First, I’ve never quite understood the whole “money=speech” deal. The two seem, to me, to be completely separate. But let’s put that aside.

Doesn’t this basically allow foreign companies to have unfettered access and influence on our politicians?

Apparently not (copying this from a GQ thread…stuff in the quote box, not what comes after):

Of course Scalia & Co. hasn’t had a chance to fuck the country on this count yet. Give them time.

Damnit…forget the quote function doesn’t grab the quote.

Here is the rest of his post that I missed in my last post:

I asked God, what is the real difference difference between “conservatives” and “liberals”? I pointed out that they all seemed to be wearing the same suits, cut to local custom.

I swear this is what It said.

More liberals can dance on the head of a pin.

I inferred from this that a conservative pinhead has room but for Earth, Inc.
Ya, think?

The movie was made by a group called “Citizens United”, not Fox. It’s a conservative non-profit founded by Floyd Brown, a Republican political consultant who was behind the Willie Horton ads. It has nothing to do with Fox.

I don’t know how you define “corporate attorney”, but Alito doesn’t fit the definition however you define it. Alito was never in private practice. After law school, he spent a year clerking for a judge on the third circuit. After that, he was an assistant US attorney in New Jersey. Then, he was Assistant to the Solicitor General, and then after that, Deputy Assistant to the Attorney General, then US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and then judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

And it’s not fair to say that stuff about Thomas. In fact, he and Scalia disagreed on this decision, with Thomas not joining into part four of the decision.

I wasn’t talking about just politicians. I was talking about conservatives in general, in or out of office.

And the “they are all just the same” line is a classic conservative defense when they are accused of something, I notice. Regardless of how horrible the conservatives are acting, or how blatantly wrong it is.

But they’re a corporation, they have no right to freedom of the press. Freedom of the press only belongs to individuals!

Same issue.

I found this suggestion on a liberal blog for how Congress could limit the impact of this ruling:

Any lawyers care to comment on whether that could fly legally?

IANAL, but #1, #2, and #3 look like straightforward examples of corporate regulation–defining what must be approved by a shareholder vote, and how such voting is conducted. Those are things that are regulated all the time by corporate law (in fact, they’re a fundamental part of corporate law–which must define what a corporation is and how it is managed).

It’s stuff that (1) every body of corporate law has to have, and (2) how they are determined is more or less positivist–they’re just choices, with no “right” or “wrong” answer from a legal perspective. From a business perspective, they matter a great deal–but that’s not the question.

(that being said, it would be hard to have a federal rule–as the law of how corporations are formed and governed is almost entirely state law). But from a constitutional perspective, I can’t imagine how this will be in any way questionable.

Only problem I see is people granting proxy rights to some entity because, frankly, most people can’t be arsed to deal with an unending stream of votes from corporations they own shares in. What’s more, I suspect most people own shares in a corporation via a mutual fund. So, does the mutual fund actually own the shares and vote on that basis (in which case you have concentrated power in the hands of a relative few)?

That’s not a problem–since proxy rules themselves are a creature of state corporate law. It may be a pain in the neck to do it this way (in fact, that rather seems to be the point–to make it hard for corporations to make political donations)–but I just don’t see how that makes it unkosher.

Oh…not saying it makes the proposal unconstitutional or anything…just that it may be sidestepped as a practical matter and avoid the purpose of the regulation. This would be particularly true if the proxy rules on this were left to the states so you get a patchwork all over the country.

That would actually make power less concentrated, because under the proposal each mutual fund only gets one vote regardless of how many shares they have. Sure, most corporate shares are owned by mutual funds, but individual owners will still outnumber them.

Requiring an absolute majority (50% + 1) of shareholders (NOT one share = one vote, but one shareholder = one vote) would make it very, very difficult in practice for a corporation to approve campaign financing.

And even if corporations are incorporated under state law, doesn’t Congress still have the right to regulate interstate commerce?

And that is what I find crazy about the proposal - the idea that a person owning a single share has the same impact on the spending of the corporation as someone who owns millions of shares. Why have this for just political donations? Why not for all spending? It fundamentally changes the concept of corporate governance.

A scene in a private chamber, Justices Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas are relaxing over cognac and cigars…

ALITO: You know, something just occurred to me…

ROBERTS: What’s that, Sam.

ALITO: This decision, well, you know, its going to seriously tilt the election field in favor of the Republican Party.


ROBERTS: Well, I hadn’t really thought about that, being as non-partisan as I am…

ALTITO: Well, what about liberal corporations, they’ll donate a lot! That Bear America, for instance, they’ll plow in millions…

ROBERTS: Uh, Sam, that’s Air America, and they’re not in business anymore.


ROBERTS: But what about the unions, we gave them the same thing! The fat labor bosses…and the Mafia, they’re all connected, they’ll give a bunch of money

ALITO: Yeah, shit, Jimmy Hoffa’s got to be worth 100 million just there!

ROBERTS: Uh, Sam?..
My point, such as I have one, is that there is no way these guys didn’t know they were handing the Republican Party a pot o’ gold. They knew. They arrived at a decision that has major consequences, favoring the partisan divide they most closely align with.

Were they compelled to that decision by the strict demands of jurisprudence? No doubt there are learned arguments about which confirm that in no uncertain terms. I expect there are other equally learned arguments that shriek and tear their hair (in dry, lawyerly terms, of course…). And they overturned a previous decision, I am confident that decision was not sculpted from fairy dust, it also relied on similar foundations.

The Constitution is frequently a marvel of ambiguity, the Second Amendment being the acme of yes, definitely, no, for sure. Other rational interpretations are possible, others that would not have such a clear and forceful impact on the nation’s electorate.

Now, sometimes, big impacts are needful, judicial activism has its place. But this ain’t civil rights, this isn’t about deeply fundamental issues of democracy like the right to vote. This is about the rights of persons who, in the sense of the word we most all understand, don’t actually exist.

So there was no compelling need to make so drastic a change. They did it because they wanted to, they carried water for the team. No better than she should be.

Villa captured one part of this but I’ll give an example of your proposal in action.

Say you started a company and built it from the ground up. At some point, to raise cash, you go public and sell a 40% share in your company via stocks. You still own 60%. Now you want to spend your money a certain way but despite you owning 60% of the company the kid who got one share as a gift has the same say as you do in how you choose to spend your company’s money.

Not gonna happen.

As for the proxy rights issue that is a whole other kettle of fish. Basically you are giving someone else the right to make a decision for you. Kind of like a power of attorney. Proxy votes are common in the corporate world. I do not see any way to stop that and Joe Schmo who owns ten shares is likely to let someone else do his voting for him.

As for Interstate Commerce this is a sore point between the Fed and the States and many feel is often dramatically abused. How it would play out with this I do not know but guaranteed it’d piss a lot of people off. People who have Senators on the payroll. You do the math.