Campaign finance has been in the spotlight this week, as Senators debated Tuesday a proposed Constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to regulate and place limits on spending for Federal campaigns.
The amendment, drafted by Democratic Senators Tom Udall (N.M.) and Michael Bennet (Nev.), would walk back the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens’ United ruling, which classified political spending as a form of free speech.
The Democratic initiative would place caps on the amount office seekers are allowed to spend on campaigns, focusing especially on political contributions from outside groups. It would also give States similar powers to regulate the political process.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) — who has perpetually attacked the campaign spending of wealthy conservatives like that of brothers Charles and David Koch — is, unsurprisingly, a vehement supporter of the idea of the Constitutional amendment.
“I am here because the flood of dark money into our nation’s political system poses the greatest threat to our democracy that I have witnessed during my tenure in public service,” Reid said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee.
Lamenting that the Supreme Court has created an electoral system wherein billionaires are pitted against billionaires, leaving average Americans voiceless, Reid called on lawmakers to support the amendment.
“We sit here today faced with a simple choice: We can keep the status quo and argue all day, all night, weekends, forever about whose billionaires are right, or we can work together to change the system, to get this shady money out of our democracy and restore the basic principle of one American, one vote,” Reid said.
The brothers Koch have come under repeated fire from Reid and vulnerable Democratic lawmakers in recent months after news broke that the wealth industrialists planned to spend more than $100 million to unseat Democrats in the midterm elections.
“The American people reject the notion that gives the Koch brothers, corporations or special-interest groups a greater voice in government [than other voters],” Reid complained.
The Senate’s top Democrat also called out Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday, noting that the GOP lawmaker had supported a 1988 amendment to limit independent campaign expenditures.
“Senator McConnell had the right idea then. I am optimistic that we can find a way to rekindle those noble principles in him now,” he said.
But McConnell, in follow-up testimony, said that the Democrats’ proposal jeopardizes Americans’ 1st Amendment protections
The First Amendment is about empowering the people, not the government,” McConnell said.
“The proposed amendment has it exactly backwards. It says that Congress and the States can pass whatever law they want abridging political speech — the speech that is at the very core of the First Amendment.”
The Kentucky Senator also accused Democrats of using the proposal to excite their voter base.
“This is a political exercise, and that’s all it is,” he said. “The goal here is to stir up one party’s political base, so they’ll show up in November.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted Democrats who support the amendment, claiming that it could represent the first step in government’s power to limit all manner of free speech.
“And where are the liberals today — why is there not a liberal standing here defending the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment?” Cruz exclaimed.
He went on to explain that the amendment is an assault on both sides of the political spectrum.
“Forty-two Democrats have signed their name to a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to muzzle Planned Parenthood and the National Right to Life,” he said. “Forty-two Democrats have signed their name to giving Congress the right to muzzle the Sierra Club, to muzzle the the National Rifle Association and the Brady Center on Handgun Violence. To muzzle Michael Moore and Dinesh D’Souza. To muzzle the Teamsters and the National Education Association. To muzzle the NAACP. To muzzle the Anti-Defamation League. To muzzle pastors and priests and rabbis who organize their parishioners to be involved in politics.”
The Texas lawmaker also announced two pieces of legislation he penned to counter the Democrats’ campaign finance amendment. Cruz’s “Free All Speech Act” would declare that all free speech laws apply equally to average citizens and media corporations. And his SuperPAC Elimination Act of 2014 would eliminate caps on direct contributions from citizens to candidates, while requiring all donations over $200 to be disclosed within 24 hours.
Though the Democrats’ Constitutional amendment has little chance of garnering the support needed to change the law of the land, Americans can be sure that they haven’t heard the end of campaign finance talk from the left.
A new book out from journalist Ken Vogel leaves no doubt that campaign finance is still an issue that President Barack Obama could attempt to wade into, using the bully pulpit of the Oval Office.
During a 2012 closed-door fundraiser in Seattle, according to Vogel’s Big Money, Obama told a group of wealthy liberal donors that after he secured a second term, he’d be “in a very strong position” to demand that the Constitution be amended to limit political spending.
“Now, I taught constitutional law. I don’t tinker with the Constitution lightly. But I think this is important enough that citizens have to get mobilized around this issue, and this will probably be a multiyear effort,” Obama said, according to an excerpt published by Mother Jones.
“After my reelection, my sense is that I may be in a very strong position to do it,” Obama reportedly went on.
This post was modified from its original form on 04 Jun, 6:32
They don't care about free speech,or about any of us.This goes for both sides of the political arena in my own country,and in the states.Evey side pushes their own agenda.They will tell you waht you want to hear,regardless of what ist is,but once they are in there,that goes out the window,and they push their own aganda.
Exactly Rahab. It's the same in all countries. Political party's represent their own interests. Investing power in the State and expecting government to equally represent the interests of the people is a fools errand. Regardless of the form of government, the powerful and the wealthy are favored at the expense of the rest of the population.
That is why repealing citizens united is such a good idea. Why campaing finance reform is a good idea. Money shouldn't buy votes. Lobbying was once considered bribary.
LOL. Special interests will not go away. For example, there is still the revolving door and paying a politicians family members via jobs. The politically powerful will always find a way.
Under Democrat party legislation, corrupt labor would exert even more power. Grass roots organizations would be damaged. Public money would be used to institutionalize the political class and their allies. The corruption would get even worse.
You just want to tilt the government toward supporting your own beliefs Chile. Your "side" would still exploit people like me and use government force against me if I didn't agree to pay for what you would want.
The only answer to the corrupt government is to have less of it. Much less. Renounce the use of government force against people. Else we remain divided.
BTW Chile, Citizens vs United was a Supreme Court decision. It was based on the 1st Amendment and was a decision based on the Constitution. It cannot be "repealed" by legislation, only by a Constitutional Amendment.
Not that the US Constitution matters to those that control the State anyway. The SCOTUS, Congress and the POTUS and the courts only rationalize their legislation and decisions. By and for those that have political power.
there you go again...LOL
you prefer oligarchy to democracy. Sounds great.
"Force" is such a simplistic idea. No matter what the structure of gov't, there would always be some level of "force".
"you prefer oligarchy to democracy. Sounds great." Nope. I prefer that no one have power over another.
And by "democracy" ? You mean a shifting political alliance of special interests that seek to use the power of the State to get an advantage over others? Which, btw is almost never a "majority".
But an "oligarchy" is exactly what we have in the USA. You support that. I don't. You just want a different set of oligarchs in control. American history is replete with oligarchs that proggressives, liberals, neocons, the religious right or whatever group of dupes and useful idiots will support.
And of course you advocate the use of force against your fellow human beings. You rationalize that since your "side" is "just" you think that's OK. Does it occur to you that the other "side(s) think the same thing?
You might want to take a look at my post on the economy and the state. The things you support are resulting in the opposite of what you claim to support. Including the increase in power and wealth of the mostly progressive oligarchy.
Gotta go with Chile on this one. Citizens United is one of the worst things to happen to America and while teh Supreme Court has used the first amendment, I do nto see this as a free speech issue. What it is is allowing corporations and the 1% to buy the election, IMHO.
Oligarchy is wrong for America.
I wonder why Chili advocates the use of force and violence against his fellow humans just to have what 'he' wants? Is it because that is where his own paycheck comes from?
Oh,boy,here we go again.Coconuts,anyone?
There goes Katii with her lies again. Why is that? Why do you do that on every thread? I know, because you have no idea what you are talking about.
Everyone wants what they want, but unlike you, I understand that in democracy, its not always going to be seen by the majority the way I think it should be seen. I should be the world commander, but alas, that ain't happening anytime soon.
Jim, there is no way to govern without some form of consent among people. There have to be some rules in society, we can differ on what those are, but they will always be "force" (what a stupid, simplistic term) in the process.
There will always be abuse too, but it can be limited with participation.
Your ideas are just naive
My ideas are naive, Chile? The government of the USA is controlled by special interests for their own enrichment. Is this a surprise? Not really. There are zero examples in recorded history that this has not occurred with any government within a few generations of the formation of that government. It's human nature for the unscrupulous to be drawn to power.
Abuse? "It can be limited with participation". Really Chile? How's that working out? How many have and are being murdered by the State? How many are in prison for non violent crimes? Or have had their lives ruined because of the system?
"Criminal Justice" by the state is another application of force rationalized by those that seek to use government to impose "morality" on others. You're going to say you don't support that. Or the foreign policy that results in the deaths of millions. I ask: where is your claimed "participation"? And if one supports the State, do those that support it not give legitimacy to what the State does?
Statists begin with the rationalizations you give. But it doesn't end there. In ends with oligarchy, control by special interests and the manipulation of the populace. I would also argue indoctrination, and out right conditioning in public education while the elites send their own children to schools that teach them to control the subservient population. In fact, the development of a underclass is increasingly apparent.
I ask: If people are (mostly) only exposed to "information" fed to them by the corporate state's media, and and children are taught to "obey", how exactly is "participation" going to be effective?
And under the criteria of "participation" by a large portion of the people happens (and it hasn't) that effort could just as well equally produce a society that voluntarily interacts with itself to solve problems without the massive government we are chained to.
While you continue to insist my beliefs are "simple minded", yours have proven to not work. Unless, of course. you think that the huge abuses we see are working? If so, for whom?
My ideas are naive, Chile? The government of the USA is controlled by special interests for their own enrichment. Is this a surprise? Not really. There are zero examples in recorded history that this has not occured with any government within a few generations of the formation of that government
"My ideas are naive, Chile? The government of the USA is controlled by special interests for their own enrichment. Is this a surprise?"
Jim, I do understand what you are saying. But why encourage it?
No one is disagreeing with most of what you say. But to pretend that because I can believe in Democracy as the worst form of governement besides every other one, therefore, i support the current incarnation in the US gov't is a flat out lie.
Your naivety, or maybe I should call it idiocy, is that there can be some governance that won't at some point have to govern based on consent, or some majority rule on some issues. "Force".
Keep your pedantic rants for your pathetic little followers, like Katii.
You are simultaneously now going to argue against a corporate media and for a completely open market. And fail to realize the failure in your logic.
Once again, civil discourse is followed by a personal attack by Chile.
On top of that Chile, you go on claim you are the arbitrator of what can and should be said on this site?..... "Keep your pedantic rants for your pathetic little followers, like Katii." Rather sad.
I realize that you are frustrated that you can't argue a point, but you should realize you expose your own true views on things like censorship when you claim such authority.
One might understand the mentality behind these words. In fact many of the same people that share views as you have would likely restrict those like me from dissent if they could. Including using government power to do so.
Without understanding such, you have once again, proven a point.
As far as "logic"? You do know that without the power of the State and monopolies that derive from State power, the corporate media would be unable to dominate information as they do? At least the media in the form of TV and paper media?
So far, the internet is still a source of real information instead of the corporate state's propaganda. Now the internet is not controlled by the government, no? People can choose and make their own decisions on what they use for information. So free market. Yes, indeed. There is your "a completely open market. "
Likely, the government will continue to attempt "regulate" the internet. But who will be behind that? Special interests, including but not limited to corporate special interests...... Likely people with political ideologies will try also........ To stop people like me from expressing a natural human right of free speech.
Once again, thanks for illustrating my point for me Chile.
This post was modified from its original form on 06 Jun, 9:01
If it keeps happening,why respond?It only feeds it.Do what everyone else does when Gabby and Justice and everyone else try to calm people,ignore it completely.
LOL. It just gets better and better. I am censoring you? God you are a freaking Hypocirte. T
You and Katii continually lie about my beliefs and the positions i hold, insult me and then get mad when I retaliate. Then you insult me. Give it a rest.
Monopolies can form and dominate any industry with help of government or not. Because corporations decided to buy media empires to controll information is not a surprise. You blame the state and refuse to ever blame the "free market". THe "free market", which can never exist, because you have to have a state and contractual law, thus destroying it before it forms, will always vary on what those laws are. Yes, you want them limited, I want them limited too, not as much as you, because I want a few things protected. Like if I buy a house, you can't put a hog farm next to it, though its your property. That would be "force" but we agree, as a society, that hog farms don't belong every where.
You think the internet is a free market? How is that possible when you have pay a provider to get on it? When there is a fee to host a site? Again, FAIL
Nancy: "Jim, I do understand what you are saying. But why encourage it?
Indeed Nancy. I don't. But those that empower the State DO "encourage it", We have a fusion of government and corporate power. This is, of course, the soft fascism. we have.
Without the extreme power that the government has, the corporations cannot exert control. They have no police. They cannot force people like me to buy their products or narrow my choices by restricting their competition via government power. They cannot force me to bail them out. They cannot force me to subsidize them.
Using government power, they can and do exactly those things and much more.
Monopolies cannot exist in a free market Chile. Except for a very short time period that is. It takes government power to do that.
You may believe that I misrepresent or insult your beliefs. I may make a similar claim about you, but where have I ever make a demand such as: "Keep your pedantic rants for your pathetic little followers, like Katii."? ?
In fact, where have I ever used loaded words such as you do regarding Katii? or I?
Free Markets cannot exist. Monopolies certainly can. Some Monopolies are desirable - Fire, Police, etc. Those are more cost effective when paid for and benefitting the society as a whole.
Give it up. A Demand? "loaded words"? Its merely a dismissal of what you said, which was a pedantic rant about "Force" and the "State". Get over yourself.
Katii asks two 'questions'. Chili calls Katii a "liar" Alrighty then!
off-topic, but can someone come up with a new word to decribe the act of demanding of others to hand over their property- "or else" ? Chile doesn't like the word "force," so I'd like to know if there is a different word that might meet with his approval, then eliminating the need for him to side-step the subject in favor of nitpicking about adjectives.
"Indeed Nancy. I don't. But those that empower the State DO "encourage it", We have a fusion of government and corporate power. This is, of course, the soft fascism. we have."
Understood but then why continue to promote that fusion by supporting Citizens United?
"Using government power, they can and do exactly those things and much more."
Understood also but now it is almost the oppsite where the corporatists have been given so much power and citizens united will continue to do the same.
This post was modified from its original form on 06 Jun, 12:55
You said I advocate the use of violence against fellow humans. Yeah, your lying.
"Giving up your personal property by use of force" is completely naive and simplistic, not to mention impossible to avoid if you are going to have type of collective system of governance.
But keep espousing this utopian idea. Its quite entertaining
"Free Markets cannot exist." Not with iinterventionist government run by crony's they can't.
And there isn't such a thing as volunteer fire and police Chile? Or private fire protection and private security? LOL. And it's "cost effective"? .....Really?
"To understand the hidden costs of one of California's sweetest public employee perks, feast your eyes on Exhibit A: Alameda County's top-paid public official, Susan Muranishi.
"Not only did the county administrator rack up $462,000 in gross pay last year, and not only did taxpayers contribute an additional $118,000 to her retirement plan, they also picked up the bill for something Muranishi was supposed to pay: the $43,000 "employee" contribution to her pension.
It's called the "pension pickup" -- and like a rich uncle picking up the tab at a big family dinner, Bay Area taxpayers footed the bill for more than $221 million last year for the employee share of 63,000 public workers' pension contributions. The practice undermines retirement rules that were designed to force employees to share the burden for their pensions."
That's cost effective alright. And HIDDEN from the public eye. Care to look into how much the pension and benefit programs cost the public? It's
And police? There are far more PRIVATE security personal than public police. 2.5 X as many. In Florida, a man has set up a company to patrol apartment complexes in low rent neighborhoods. The police did very little to prevent crime. His services are paid by landlords and crime (robbery, assaults and break in's) has declined by more than 85%. Private security. Government failure. And the cost to the taxpayers for those failures is mounting. Many states are underwater due to pensions for public employees. Cities are going bankrupt.
As far as "lying" about advocation of force against your fellow human beings?
Well Chile, do you accept and advocate that the government has a right to make citizens pay for things the government does? that the citizens does not want? Do you think the government has the right to take property away from citizens? To put them in jail for not paying?
That is advocating the use of force against others. I do not advocate that you pay for my things. my services etc or to support my beilefs.
"Utopian" LOL Newsflash: I don't believe in fantasy, Chile. That's your thing. You say the ends justify the means; when one group of people are harmed in some way (like having a giant percentage of their wages stolen from them for example) "for the greater good," that is OK with you. Yes, Chile, that is supporting and advocating. Merely voting in this ridiculously corrupt, criminal political system is 'supporting' it.
I find it interesting that some continue to think government is going to be reformed. This despite massive corruption and cronyism, daily killing of mostly innocent people around the world, hundreds of thousands being jailed who didn't commit any real crimes, a monetary system that is rigged for the mostly unproductive top .1%, spying on everyone in the world and much more. It's getting worse, despite the claims of a "democracy" that sets people against each other and fosters hatred. If "democracy" was a real solution, then why hasn't it worked?
Wanting less government is "utopian "? It seems to me those that think "if only" are the utopians. But that being said, I would support a few principles above all others: Stop the killing. Release those that committed no real crimes. I would support anyone who will do these things. The rest can be worked out when peoples lives are saved and/or returned to them.
Surely you and I can agree on that much Chile.
Well Nancy......I go to the root of the problem instead of trying to fix it by the political means which has failed time and time again. Think: was corporate power absent from government before Citizens v United? Obviously not. So passing a constitutional amendment to limit corporate finance of elections solves ....NOTHING. In some way's it makes things worse.
Have you looked at some of the related legislation on campaign finance? It institutionalizes those organizations already in power by setting barriers targeted against upstart grass roots organizations. Powerful existing organizations would be exempt from the odious requirements of things like registering contributions and listing employees, donors and such within days of employment or contributions. In other words, the powerful would use government to restrict those that were not part of the system.
Notice that those that complain about corporate power want to restrict corporate contributions, but would allow unions to continue to fund their side?
Fascism has many traits. Remember that the German Nazi and Italian Fascistas both had strong roots in organized labor. Of course that didn't last, but the fact is that both unions and corporations use government power for their own purposes. Since both have government power in excess of their numbers, how is this "democratic"? These are essentially the "factions" that the founders of this country warned against. You might support one side or another, but what about people that don't? Why should I be forced to support either one?
Fact is, I and others like me are oppressed by those that advocate for either "side". Neither "side" represents interests or reflect beliefs of anyone else than themselves. But the "sides" are illusionary anyway. Mostly they cut deals for themselves. The "crisis" in 2008 is an example. Both the corporations and organized labor were bailed out. Washington DC became a boom town with massive expansions of government. NYC/Wall Street got it's subsidizes via the monetary expansion. The rest of the country paid and will continue to pay for those that gain through the political means instead of being honestly productive. The country will continue to run down as a result. And those with political power will continue to prey on those that do not.
Who here honestly believes the Constitution will be amended to regulate political campaign contributions- particularly to 'tighten' them up? Has everyone forgotten who has to sign-off to pass a Constitutional Amendment? Yes, the very people who benefit from unfettered campain financing: politicians
I predict that this campaign for an amendment will be dropped right after the midterm elections, and revived again before the 2016 elections to 'fire up their base' (paricularly if it works well in 2014) ... Americans still falling for this naked game is absolutely stunning.
Like the "racism" card and the "pro-choice" card, this is the new "campaign finance regulation" card, otherwise known to the Democrat Party as "cash cows."
When the amendment fails to pass in congress. doubtless the political class will cry crocodile tears and then proceed to offset corporate money with public financing. This, of course, will be funneled into the two political party's, who will continue to represent the political class and the economic elites. The media will praise this "helping and saving" "democracy". Taxpayers will foot the bill and those that would resist the growing tyranny will face a greater uphill battle.