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Supreme Court and Corporate Power
ROBERT WEISSMAN, CRAIG HOLMAN, via Angela Bradbery
President of Public Citizen, Weissman wrote the piece "Tightening the Corporate Grip: The Stakes at the Supreme Court" about Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a case the Supreme Court heard Wednesday that could have far-reaching effects on corporate power. Holman is government ethics lobbyist for Public Citizen.
Writes Weisman: "Overturning the court's precedents on corporate election expenditures would be nothing short of a disaster. Corporations already dominate our political process -- through political action committees, fundraisers, high-paid lobbyists and personal contributions by corporate insiders, often bundled together to increase their impact, threats to move jobs abroad and more.
"On the dominant issues of the day -- climate change, health care and financial regulation -- corporate interests are leveraging their political investments to sidetrack vital measures to protect the planet, expand health care coverage while controlling costs, and prevent future financial meltdowns.
"The current system demands reform to limit corporate influence. Public funding of elections is the obvious and necessary (though very partial) first step.
"Yet the Supreme Court may actually roll back the limits on corporate electoral spending now in place. These limits are very inadequate, but they do block unlimited spending from corporate treasuries to influence election outcomes. Rolling back those limits will unleash corporations to ramp up their spending still further, with a potentially decisive chilling effect on candidates critical of the Chamber of Commerce agenda.
"Ours is a government of the people, by the people, for the people -- not the corporations and their money. Corporations don't vote, and they shouldn't be permitted to spend limitless amounts of money to influence election outcomes."