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CREW Calls Supreme Court Decision a Boon for Corporate America
WASHINGTON - January 21 - Today, in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court overruled its earlier decisions to hold that while the government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, it may not ban corporate speech altogether. The Court found that independent expenditures - or the ability to create, finance and air ads advocating the election or defeat of candidates - do not lead to or create the appearance of corruption, and that banning such expenditures is a violation of corporations' First Amendment right to free speech.
CREW executive director Melanie Sloan stated, "The Supreme Court has placed the rights of corporations ahead of the rights of American voters by willfully ignoring the outsize role of money in politics and the fact that corporations have vast sums available to spend." Sloan continued, "Money buys elections and the biggest corporations with the most money will own our politicians. We are moving to an age where we won't have the senator from Arkansas or the congressman from North Carolina, but the senator from Wal-Mart and the congressman from Bank of America."
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated, "The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy. . . . Ingratiation and access, in any event, are not corruption." Notably, a January 10th-14th NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found the public's congressional approval rating is a mere 21%. Sloan stated, "Despite the Court's remarkably obtuse statement to the contrary, the public perception that special interests have greater access to and influence over our elected leaders clearly does diminish Americans' faith in our political institutions."
Click here to read the Supreme Court's decision.