Supreme Court strikes down aggregate limits on campaign contributions on First Amendment grounds

posted at 11:21 am on April 2, 2014 by Allahpundit

Until today there were two limits on donating to candidates. One was the base limit, the cap on the amount you can give to any single candidate. The other was the aggregate limit, a cap on the total amount you can give to all candidates. Right now you’re capped at $48,600 when donating directly to candidates and $123,200 total, including party committees; if you want to give more than that, too bad. The base limit is there to prevent you from dropping $10 million on a congressman, essentially buying his seat for him, and then having him do your bidding forever. It’s supposed to be a stumbling block to corruption. The aggregate limit is there because … I’m not sure why, and neither are the five conservatives on the Supreme Court. The theory, I guess, is that if you’re free to donate an amount equal to the base limit to, say, every Republican running for Congress, you can have the GOP as a party do your bidding forever. Of course, you can already kinda sorta do that by donating unlimited amounts to Super PACs working to help the GOP.

The question, then: Is the aggregate limit sufficiently useful in preventing corruption that it justifies limiting people’s right to political speech to protect it? Nope, says SCOTUS.

The court was divided over how sweeping the ruling actually is. The biggest impact is that a single donor can now give the maximum amount by law to as many federal candidates, parties and committees as he or she wishes.

The 5-4 split was along party lines, with the five justices appointed by Republican presidents joining the majority and the four appointed by Democratic presidents dissenting.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing on behalf of the court, said the justices did not reach the question of whether to overturn a key 1976 ruling, called Buckley v. Valeo, which upheld limits on campaign finance donations while also describing how courts should analyze such regulations. Justice Clarence Thomas, who voted with Roberts, said the court had gone further than the chief justice claimed…

The caps “do little, if anything, to address that concern, while seriously restricting participation in the democratic process,” wrote Roberts, appointed by former President George W. Bush, a Republican.

Here’s the opinion, which clocks in at a cool 40 pages. If you want the basics, stick with the syllabus on pages 2-6. Roberts’s nutshell version of the First Amendment rationale:

123

Thomas, who concurred in the judgment, argued that Roberts’s First Amendment reasoning should lead the Court to strike down base limits on contributions too so that everyone can donate directly to candidates as much as they like. That question wasn’t at issue in this case but maybe it will be soon enough: Roberts’s point on pages 18-21 about donors buying “general influence” with a candidate, which is permissible, versus impermissible “quid pro quo corruption” in which the donor contributes money in exchange for something up front does seem to anticipate some loosening of the rules around base limits too. As long as there’s no quid pro quo, why can’t a billionaire dump a million dollars on a candidate to exercise a little “influence”?

The upshot here is that you’re going to hear even more screeching about the Koch brothers buying elections from Harry Reid and the rest of the Democrats, even as lefty billionaires like Soros and Tom Steyer start maxing out donations to every Democratic candidate for Congress in America. The other takeaway, ironically, is that this might produce more accountability in campaign finance compared to what we have now. One of the big knocks on Super PACs is that their donors can legally conceal their names; donors to candidates’ campaigns can’t. In the past, if you were rich and wanted to donate more than the aggregate limit on campaign donations, Super PACs were your main option. Now that wealthy donors no longer have to worry about the aggregate limit and can give directly to as many candidates as they want, their donations will be reported under disclosure rules.

Update: Good point from Gabe Malor about Breyer’s dissent:

Update: Newt joins Thomas:

If the Court opposes donation limits but supports transparency, nudging donors towards a more transparent method of contributing is a logical next step.

Update: Interesting point. If wealthy Republicans tend to donate to establishment candidates, who are the big losers today?


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We have to keep fighting for our rights. Scary eh?

LeftCoastRight on April 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

If government wasn’t flaunting the constitution, people would not feel the need to influence the political process so much, whether by monetary donation or otherwise. This is yet another political problem with the same answer: Get back to the constitution!

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 11:27 AM

We have to keep fighting for our rights. Scary eh?

LeftCoastRight on April 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Nothing new under the sun… We have been fighting for our rights since the birth of the Republic… There were, are, and will always be enemies of our rights…

mnjg on April 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

We have to keep fighting for our rights. Scary eh?

LeftCoastRight on April 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

What’s even scarier is that we’re not fighting for them. Voting and hoping the politicians will fix what politicians broke is what passes for fighting for our rights these days.

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

We have to keep fighting for our rights. Scary eh?

LeftCoastRight on April 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Nothing new under the sun… We have been fighting for our rights since the birth of the Republic… There were, are, and will always be enemies of our rights…

mnjg on April 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

You guys don’t break your arms patting yourselves on the back. Post WWII generations have no idea what real fighting looks like.

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

So dropping 10 million on a congressional candidate is illegal because that would lead to corruption…but the media gives billions in defacto support to democrat candidates.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

So dropping 10 million on a congressional candidate is illegal because that would lead to corruption…but the media gives billions in defacto support to democrat candidates.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

That’s about the size of it. Money corrupts, but media peddled influence doesn’t corrupt at all as long as it’s not in the form of currency./

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 11:31 AM

If government wasn’t flaunting the constitution, people would not feel the need to influence the political process so much, whether by monetary donation or otherwise. This is yet another political problem with the same answer: Get back to the constitution!

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 11:27 AM

+1

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:31 AM

It’s a shame our justice system has come to the point where one can pretty well predict the outcome based on who appointed a judge – either a Republican or a Democrat. These liberals only reference the constitution when it agrees with their idealogy. If it doesn’t they align themselves with their political party.

iamsaved on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.

sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

How much does it cost to get a reporter to intervene in a presidential debate and take sides?

What’s the market value of burying most stories that show Democrats in a poor light?

What’s the market value of the media adopting whatever word or phrase the left is co-opting this week?

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Booyah – but I fear it’s already too late.

The media companies have already demonstrated they will just out and out refuse political ads that go against the DNC.
Near term it’ll be better to just fund new communication channels (conservative radio/TV) then attempting to purchase airtime on a media outlet that will then editorialize a response and “frame” the debate.

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Nothing new under the sun… We have been fighting for our rights since the birth of the Republic… There were, are, and will always be enemies of our rights…

How unique this county is. Based on the idea that certain rights are inalienable. Nothing like it ever existed before. Nothing like it may never exist again. It must survive.

LeftCoastRight on April 2, 2014 at 11:35 AM

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.

sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

What about PACs? This essentially means that a candidates political speech is curtailed while third parties have no limits.

What’s wrong with everyone getting as much speech as they can get?

If money really does corrupt the electoral process then the corrupt media is a far more corrosive influence. Who cares how much ad time you buy when the media is going to throw all in for one side once the commercial spot is over?

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:37 AM

So dropping 10 million on a congressional candidate is illegal because that would lead to corruption…but the media gives billions in defacto support to democrat candidates.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

What are you talking about? During the second Presidential Debate when Candy Crowley put down her bucket of extra crispy long enough to wave a transcript and lie her ass off about what it and the rat-eared wonder said was priceless.

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.
sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Think about what you’re saying.

Government should control all campaigns for whom should be included in its club. You think things are bad now? Imagine when Obama bans candidates because they’re contradictory to his interpretations of good government.

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 11:39 AM

We have to keep fighting for our rights. Scary eh?

LeftCoastRight on April 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

It’s a never ending fight. But each generation must fight it.

Oil Can on April 2, 2014 at 11:39 AM

The theory, I guess, is that if you’re free to donate an amount equal to the base limit to, say, every Republican running for Congress, you can have the GOP as a party do your bidding forever.

Nazi collaborator George Soros has done that with the Fascist-Democratic party.

rbj on April 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.

sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Sure, but only when the Liberal Media ceases all political reporting.
Deal?

sentinelrules on April 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM

What are you talking about? During the second Presidential Debate when Candy Crowley put down her bucket of extra crispy long enough to wave a transcript and lie her ass off about what it and the rat-eared wonder said was priceless.

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Ha ha ha

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM

How much does it cost to get a reporter to intervene in a presidential debate and take sides?

What’s the market value of burying most stories that show Democrats in a poor light?

What’s the market value of the media adopting whatever word or phrase the left is co-opting this week?

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

In all seriousness? Easily over a billion dollars, probably several billion over the longer term. Romney and O raised nearly a billion each in 2012, and what did they get for all that? A computer system, some e-mail campaigns, and some minutes worth of TV ads, among other items.

The ‘mainstream media’ continuously providing the services you’ve listed above, often for hours and days at a time via nightly newscasts…easily adds up to the figures I’ve mentioned above.

nullrouted on April 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.

sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Sorry, don’t want any of my tax dollars going the KKKer David Duke. Nor to outright communists.

rbj on April 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Remember the Left only wants money from their “collective” interest such as unions perverting the electoral system. Not individuals or corporations who they are unable to give quid pro quo benefits.

Tater Salad on April 2, 2014 at 11:43 AM

The question, then: Is the aggregate limit sufficiently useful in preventing corruption that it justifies limiting people’s right to political speech to protect it?

How is that the question?

The first amendment says “Congress shall make no law”…”abridging the freedom of speech…” It does not say “unless that law is sufficiently useful in preventing corruption.” It simply says “shall make no law.” There are no exceptions to the first amendment, despite the fact that we all just seem to accept that its protections aren’t unlimited.

All of the logic the Supreme Court has ever used to decide when a restriction on free speech is or is not justified are of its own creation. They come from nowhere in the Constitution. There is not a single word in the Constitution about limits to the first amendment. Not one.

The founding fathers were very intelligent, and very precise in their writing. “Congress shall make no law” is direct, to the point, extremely specific, and quite absolute. Any federal law, or federal regulation promulgated by an agency controlled by federal law, which restricts the freedom of speech is unconstitutional. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.

Shump on April 2, 2014 at 11:43 AM

In all seriousness? Easily over a billion dollars, probably several billion over the longer term. Romney and O raised nearly a billion each in 2012, and what did they get for all that? A computer system, some e-mail campaigns, and some minutes worth of TV ads, among other items.

The ‘mainstream media’ continuously providing the services you’ve listed above, often for hours and days at a time via nightly newscasts…easily adds up to the figures I’ve mentioned above.

nullrouted on April 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Yup.

Look at the War on Womynses. It started with George Stephanopolusfugus asking the GOP candidates why they wanted to ban birth control. Out of left field. Started by the media. Pushed by the Obama administration but the campaigns efforts would have been worthless if the media didn’t also push it – if most tv “news” shows didn’t wonder why the GOP hate women so much and want to ban birth control and all the rest of it.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Increasingly the voter only gets to choose among those who are already influenced by big donor checks, groomed and presented with big donor money, the principles and concerns of the big donors first and foremost in importance to the candidates, the principles and concerns of the average voters ever less than a secondary consideration.

The idea of a candidate rising from among average Americans and retaining the will to be a public servant, serving the needs of the electorate, is increasingly lost to the reality of the candidate who serves the interests and needs of the donors who pay for their campaigns and is every mindful of the need to keep receiving those big donor checks. If the needs of the individual politician aren’t enough to insure that primary loyalty to the donors, the needs of the party are always forcefully expressed to see that the interests of those donors are serviced.

Throwing more and more money at the politicians and the parties isn’t going to insure that the interests of the average American are better addressed. It’s only going to increase competition among the big donors to see that their individual needs and ideology are serviced. Any benefit seen by the average American are increasingly incidental.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

One of the big knocks on Super PACs is that their donors can legally conceal their names; donors to candidates’ campaigns can’t.

Donors to Super PACs must be disclosed by law. It is donations to 501c4 organizations that can remain anonymous.

Mark1971 on April 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

The Left doesn’t care about individual rights, they only care about the collective rights of their largest donor – unions.

Tater Salad on April 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

The founding fathers were very intelligent, and very precise in their writing. “Congress shall make no law” is direct, to the point, extremely specific, and quite absolute. Any federal law, or federal regulation promulgated by an agency controlled by federal law, which restricts the freedom of speech is unconstitutional. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.

Shump on April 2, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Yea, but the founders only had muskets!…or something…
*libtards

VegasRick on April 2, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Political corruption will always be with us. It can’t be stopped. Human nature. The founders recognized that. Giving money or gifts to politicians establishes the enviorment for that to thrive.

butch on April 2, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Keating died today. Will McCain be asked abiut the Keating 5?

Wethal on April 2, 2014 at 11:49 AM

The upshot here is that you’re going to hear even more screeching about the Koch brothers buying elections from Harry Reid and the rest of the Democrats,

My guess is that the dingy one saw this coming from a mile away. That is the reason for all his kvetching about the prime evil brothers.

MJBrutus on April 2, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Hah, Ed must be prescient.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Increasingly the voter only gets to choose among those who are already influenced by big donor checks, groomed and presented with big donor money, the principles and concerns of the big donors first and foremost in importance to the candidates, the principles and concerns of the average voters ever less than a secondary consideration.

The idea of a candidate rising from among average Americans and retaining the will to be a public servant, serving the needs of the electorate, is increasingly lost to the reality of the candidate who serves the interests and needs of the donors who pay for their campaigns and is every mindful of the need to keep receiving those big donor checks. If the needs of the individual politician aren’t enough to insure that primary loyalty to the donors, the needs of the party are always forcefully expressed to see that the interests of those donors are serviced.

Throwing more and more money at the politicians and the parties isn’t going to insure that the interests of the average American are better addressed. It’s only going to increase competition among the big donors to see that their individual needs and ideology are serviced. Any benefit seen by the average American are increasingly incidental.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

That’s a great analysis. I agree that it would be great if every politician would truly be interested in ‘serving his constituents’ but I also believe that’s a pipe dream in our current political system.

That said, I’m not sure you’re taking into account the media’s influence. I see Koch/Adelson/etc’s money as a way to partially level the media playing field. If we leveled out the monetary contributions on both sides, the ‘tie’ would clearly go to the liberals because the media is completely in the tank for them.

nullrouted on April 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Giving money or gifts to politicians establishes the enviorment for that to thrive.

butch on April 2, 2014 at 11:46 AM

The best government BIG money can buy!

shubalstearns on April 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

rbj on April 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

All funds used by ‘big donors’, both sides of the aisle, any ideology, come from the sale of some form of product, merchandise, or service.

Your dollars are already paying for those campaigns through the dollars you’re obliged to spend for products, merchandise, and services.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I never really understood donation limits in the first place. Money is said to be the mother’s milk of politics but money doesn’t necessarily equal votes. There a plenty of super-rich people who do not have a prayer of getting elected to anything.

In the end, transparency will do everything that finance limits cannot hope to do.

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.

sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

That idea is dead for all time. Thanks Obama. It is probably the only thing you have ever done to reduce government spending.

Mord on April 2, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Gee, no comment from John McCain? He doesn’t think much of free speech in political campaigning.

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Obama said that now that his law is the law of the land, it cannot be repealed. Also false. It’s unpopular even before the employer mandate kicks in, which is destined to cost tens of millions of Americans the healthcare that they now have. We have a system by which laws and even amendments to the Constitution can be repealed.

But the most ghastly aspect of the president’s speech was its celebratory tone. This president stood in the Rose Garden in the lawn of the people’s house. He used force to coerce Americans into doing what he wants for the sake of politics and power. An American president should never celebrate taking freedoms away from Americans. This president has, and he is pleased with himself for doing it. He basks in the applause of those who celebrate with him, as if it’s an achievement to use the full force of government to impose yourself on others.

Outside the gates of his little ceremony, Democrats remain on the run because Obamacare is wreaking havoc on people’s lives. This president’s “mission accomplished” moment has come. The Democrats will still lose the Senate this year, in part because Barack Obama remains so out of touch, aloof, and dishonest.

Fund the senatorial and House candidates who diminish this creep, the most un-American of all the presidents.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 11:59 AM

The whole point that “Influence Buying” fails to register is the Chicken or Egg issue.

Does the viewpoint alter with the contribution, or does the Contribution follow the viewpoint that was Already There?

jaydee_007 on April 2, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Look at the War on Womynses. It started with George Stephanopolusfugus asking the GOP candidates why they wanted to ban birth control. Out of left field.

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

During a foreign policy debate. Clearly Stephanopolus conspired with OFA to get the video of Republicans talking about female parts

This incident and Candy Crowley’s blatant bias is why I think the RNC is insane if it lets journalists anywhere near the moderator’s seat in the 2016 elections. The media is nothing more than a propaganda arm of the DNC.

Happy Nomad on April 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I loved how Drudge captioned the pic. of Biden/obama with “April Fools”. It was quite a moment in US history.

The fools are the majority of the people in the Nation of Idiots.

Schadenfreude on April 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I expect that the IRS will strike down this Supreme Court ruling.

slickwillie2001 on April 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I expect that the IRS will strike down this Supreme Court ruling.

slickwillie2001 on April 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM

LOL! You win, hands down.

Mord on April 2, 2014 at 12:03 PM

This is all just about Sarah Palin’s clothes, isn’t it?

TexasDan on April 2, 2014 at 12:04 PM

The First Amendment does not protect the government, even when the government purports to act through legislation reflecting “collective speech.” Cf. United States v. Alvarez, 567 U. S. ___ (2012); Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U. S. 705 (1977); West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624 (1943).

.
Exactly.

ExpressoBold on April 2, 2014 at 12:10 PM

19 of the top 20 American unions & corporations give the majority of their donations to the DNC. …and not one single union gives to the GOP. A small handful of single wealthy donors are about all the GOP have to fight the Dems.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

…so of course Harry “Pedophile?” Reid is going to lose his mind (whaterver is left) over this ruling.

Megyn Kellys Lipstick on April 2, 2014 at 12:15 PM

nullrouted on April 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

“The media” is a very broad term. HA is a form of ‘media’.

While I understand your point that many media outlets are hopelessly biased, have lost sight of their duty to present only fact, and have allowed their preferred ideology to taint and skew their presentation of any given story, I also understand that to simply throw in the towel and say that the battle is lost due to journalistic malfeasance is defeatism.

Those media outlets, all of them, are owned by shareholders. The funds generated by those media outlets are the property of shareholders. Most of those shareholders, particularly the large ones, in turn use those funds to invest in stock in many other businesses, corporations, and enterprises. These individuals make their money selling a multitude of products, merchandise, and services which are bought and paid for by…. consumers.

The fact is, through casual purchase of everyday products and services, the average American is being used to finance not only the media, but the investments, donor contributions, and direction of our own political class.Most of that funding comes directly out of American pockets. They simply don’t consult us regarding our preferred ideology, political position, or consider what is ultimately best for the American people balanced against their own needs.

Strict campaign finance laws directed at granting a certain, set amount, of tax dollars to each verified, legitimate candidate, regardless of ideology or party, allowing each candidate to use only those funds and accept no gift, not even so much as a cup of coffee or 30 seconds of air time, with the voters casting their ballot for the candidate of their choice after a series of debates and consideration of each candidates experience and qualifications, would actually go much farther toward ensuring and exercising freedom of speech and leveling the playing field in politics.

Thus, by limiting candidates to a set amount of financing, banning political donations, funds coming directly from tax dollars, allowing Americans to choose who would best represent their needs, and ultimately stand as their proxy in the government based on each candidates qualifications, record, and expressed policy positions, could be effectively accomplished, rather than simply allowing big money and the media to continue to direct our elections in order to service their own needs and agendas, and our choice would be broader and our freedoms more effectively expressed and supported.

To do nothing simply allows those with the best funding to dictate the policy of the political class by taking advantage of the basic human tendency to act in their own best interest.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

To do nothing simply allows those with the best funding to dictate the policy of the political class by taking advantage of the basic human tendency to act in their own best interest.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

.
So, what do you plan to do?

ExpressoBold on April 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

How much does it cost to get a reporter to intervene in a presidential debate and take sides?

What’s the market value of burying most stories that show Democrats in a poor light?

What’s the market value of the media adopting whatever word or phrase the left is co-opting this week?

gwelf on April 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

…we only needed…one comment on this thread ^ ^ ^ …!!!

KOOLAID2 on April 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

To do nothing simply allows those with the best funding to dictate the policy of the political class by taking advantage of the basic human tendency to act in their own best interest.
thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

BS.

Money isn’t the source of the power here. It’s a representation of it. By restricting campaign finance dollars you automatically decrease your candidate pool to those *already in power* and their chosen candidates because they get airtime and candidate support via NON regulated sources that don’t track dollars. The chosen candidate will get airtime on The Tonight Show and talked up on all the newscasts and papers and not ONE dime will need to be spent.

The only leverage an independent candidate, one outside the system, has is MONEY to get his voice heard.
Again – if you let the government regulate elections the government will become self-feeding and self-serving (which it already has thanks to campaign finance controls…)

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

The cure, or counter to this -if one is so inclined to get on a Senate soapbox and spout ridiculous and false memes about un-American richie-Riches- is an impartial Department of Justice.

Unfortunately, we don’t have one of those.

BKeyser on April 2, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

I’m sorry. That’s establishment drivel.

If you allot each candidate a set amount of money, a set amount of air time and advertising dollars, and you institute term limits, you’ve effectively and efficiently leveled the playing field and for the first time the American electorate would be able to choose those to literally ‘serve as proxy’ in governance and creating the laws of the land.

I understand that it’s frightening to contemplate shaking up the status quo and allowing Americans a real choice in electing public servants, but it’s necessary.

Nevertheless, if we are to have the interests of American citizens served, rather than the interests of big money donors and politicians own ambitions, we need to take big money and careerists out of government.

If you need proof that big money is directing even the selection of candidates, look at issues like immigration. Who’s interest does it serve to suggest increasing legal immigration and granting amnesty to the 12 million illegal aliens currently at large in this nation when 20 million American citizens and legal immigrants are unemployed or chronically and acutely under employed? Yet, find me one legitimate potential candidate who has not expressed an interest in legalizing those 12 million illegal aliens and increasing legal immigration.

Take out the money interest, set firm term limits, and allow the American people to determine policy.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

If you’ll note, earlier in the first post that you tagged, you’ll see that I’d already suggested not allowing any gifts to the candidates…not even a cup of coffee or 30 seconds of air time.

Having any candidate on a television or radio program qualifies as a gift for the very reasons you’ve mentioned. I’d also suggest that it’s important to take a look at the shareholders and board of directors of each media outlet and then do a quick cross search to see what other corporations they hold stock in, as well. You’ll find that ‘portfolio diversification’ has a number of those same names popping up across the search. This has long been a means for donors to increase their donation, and their influence, dramatically.

I’d like to see these practices ended and real fairness instituted in the system.

Of course, you needn’t worry. The political class will never vote for term limits or to change how campaign and elections are funded. The establishment, and the political class, will always move to protect itself.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 12:49 PM

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I’m sorry. You’re the one spouting establishment drivel. You’re advocating total government control and regulation of political speech. That’s wholly and completely contrary to the first amendment. Those in power will always control the narrative and you’re giving them carte Blanche to do so under the guise of “power to the people” which, ironically, is what NOT restricting campaign contributions really does.

Term limits are fine but have nothing to do with the conversation at hand.

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

lol! ‘No.. you are!’ Seriously? That’s the most mature argument you could muster?

Keep walking.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Post WWII generations have no idea what real fighting looks like.

gryphon202 on April 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

You might want to reconsider that rather sweeping statement…in light of little dust-ups like Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other little “disagreements” in which post-WW2 generations have found themselves engaged.

Personally, I’d like to believe that, after 3 1/2 years in VietNam – and a couple of other minor wars – I have a better-than-vague idea of what “real fighting” looks like.

Solaratov on April 2, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Solaratov on April 2, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Indeed, you have, my friend. Well said.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Where did I advocate ‘total government control’? When a candidate had qualified to run, just as they do now, they’d automatically qualify for an equal share of funding, regardless of ideology.

The only think I’d eliminate is the process whereby millionaires are the only one’s allowed to run, by virtue of controlling the debate through money.

Actually, my whole point is that I’d like to see some people serve as public servants who aren’t millionaire lawyers and beholden to millionaires and billionaires for their support and campaign funding.

I’d like a true selection of candidates, instead of only those who can drum up millions in donations, primarily from millionaires and billionaires who want their own interests serviced by that candidate.

My plan would allow for more real freedom of speech and ideas, not less, since American voters would be able to choose from candidates who might really want to represent them, rather than corporate interests.

Now… you can keep walking.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 1:19 PM

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.

sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Very bad idea.

First of all, what does “publicly financed” even mean? You can’t throw stupid buzz words out without specific definition.

But assuming that ‘public’ means ‘government’ then we have a BIG problem. Spouting off idiotic statements make you seem…

IDIOTIC!!!!

ZeusGoose on April 2, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Rush Limbaugh says that money = speech. If that’s true it means when the government gives their K-street cronies hundreds of billions of dollars that they take from the rest of us, (or steals from future generations), they are redistributing free-speech to the haves from the have-nots, thus violating the 1st amendment, massively increasing the speech of a small number of people in the oligarchy while greatly reducing the speech of the people. Because of government corruption the government and their cronies control the vast majority of wealth in the country, and thus have captured the vast majority of free-speech for themselves, and use the wealth and free-speech they’ve stolen from the rest of us to protect their racket.

If money = speech then it means that the federal government and their cronies and just about everything they do in Washington DC is a planet sized 1st amendment violation.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 1:30 PM

We keep talking about the “establishment” as though it’s an entity unto itself. It is a group but there are a ton more of other groups. This ruling might actually break the “establishment’s” hold on control – they will have more freedom to spread around their money.

Since the Koch Bros appear to be libertarians, they now can donate more to even upstarts. It becomes their choice.

MN J on April 2, 2014 at 1:33 PM

It is an obvious first amendment violation for the government to redistribute free-speech, and if money = speech then that means it’s time to bring a whole bunch of 1st amendment cases to the SCOTUS to shut down the crime-syndicate that is our federal government.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 1:33 PM

If you allot each candidate a set amount of money, a set amount of air time and advertising dollars, and you institute term limits, you’ve effectively and efficiently leveled the playing field and for the first time the American electorate would be able to choose those to literally ‘serve as proxy’ in governance and creating the laws of the land.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Unless you’re suggesting that 10,000 people could each file to run for president, and the government would hand them a check to pay for their campaigns, then someone in the government is going to have to pick and choose who is eligible for this financing and who is not. How is that not going to result in yet another system of cronyism and political favors that rivals what we have now?

Shump on April 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Since the Koch Bros appear to be libertarians, they now can donate more to even upstarts. It becomes their choice.

MN J on April 2, 2014 at 1:33 PM

That doesn’t make me feel any better, the Koch brothers, along with the rest of the oligarchy, are amnesty supporting corporatists. Giving the oligarchy more power isn’t going to help anybody but the oligarchy and their illegal aliens.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 1:37 PM

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Flap Jack,

You don’t know jack, so stop wasting your time and ours with your asinine posts. I believe all the communist countries, including neo-commie Venezuela have a form of what you’re trying to propose.

I learned long ago to never trust a jackass that tries to tell me “That’s a fact”.

Give it up, Bozo.

ZeusGoose on April 2, 2014 at 1:43 PM

It is said that less than 10 people financed the presidential campaign of JFK.
So now, we can go back to those wonderful years of Camelot.

J_Crater on April 2, 2014 at 1:54 PM

The losers are going to be the various political consultancies of the PACs and the “kingmakers” running those PACs. The PACs were used to get around the aggregate donation limits. One could dump $10 million into a PAC which could then be used, in turn, to support various candidates which the donors could not do directly.

What this is going to do is to allow these large donors to contribute to more party committees (say the Republican committees of all 50 states which are NOT affiliated with the RNC in any way) or to more individual candidates. I am not buying that it will “hurt” tea party candidates per se. What it will do is hurt STUPID tea party candidates that are attempting to torpedo an election and hand it to the Democrats such as an Aiken or a Broun. It would HELP a tea party candidate in a legitimate run to oust a Democrat from office who might have otherwise been pretty low down on someone’s donation list. The GOOD TP candidates will be helped by this, the dumb ones won’t be.

Generally, though, the biggest impact is going to be a reduction in influence by such groups as ActBlue which were used to get around the aggregate limits and dump huge sums into the various party committees.

crosspatch on April 2, 2014 at 1:54 PM

My guess is 1 or 2 liberal justices will be “convinced” to resign no later than this summer. The Democrats need to replace them before the Republicans take the Senate.

huckleberryfriend on April 2, 2014 at 1:59 PM

If corporations are people then it means that if a corporation commits murder, like Government Motors, it can be convicted and sentenced to life in prison if not the death penalty.

I think that this ruling by the SCOTUS gives small-gov proponents everything they need to put boomtown DC and their cronies in their place, but it’s going to have to happen from the bottom up, not the top down, because the oligarchy is never going to shoot themselves in the foot. Spread the word.

The main point was in my comments above, however. That in particular means that redistributing money is redistributing free-speech, making the corruption of the federal government a gargantuan 1st amendment violation.

I feel like this analogous to the scene in the move Independence Day 4 when they finally figure out how to destroy the alien ships, but this thread isn’t getting a lot of action and I’m afraid few will read this so please help me spread the word.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Shump on April 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM

They already do. There are qualifications and requirements simply to run for public office, including citizenship, age, number of consecutive years spent in the United States, background checks, family background checks, friend, acquaintance, and associates background checks, individual state requirements, etc.

10,000 people. Most people, on sober consideration… and faced with that kind of scrutiny… particularly without some sort of organization behind them… wouldn’t wish to run for president.

Further, there are filing fees and deadlines, and only a serious candidate would bother getting embroiled in the red tape required for a serious run.

There’s far more to consider than just the general election.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM

This isn’t going to change the amount of money flowing into politics, it is just going to change the PATH of that money. Rather than having to set up a PAC to get around the aggregate donation limits, more money can go directly rather than having to be run through PACs first. This is bad news only for the people who run PACs that were used to get around the donation limits. The money was still flowing anyway, it was just being laundered through PACs first.

crosspatch on April 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

ZeusGoose on April 2, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Glad to see you stand up for freedom of speech.

Interesting to see how deep your understanding of, and support for, the constitution and the rights of your fellow citizens extends.

Keep walking.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 2:16 PM

crosspatch on April 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

That doesn’t change or disprove anything I’ve said. If money = speech then it is a clear, obvious 1st amendment violation for the government to confiscate peoples free-speech, which means no more taxes. It’s a clear violation for them to confiscate people free-speech and redistribute it to their corporate cronies and special interests, giving more free-speech to the oligarchy and less to the people. If corporations are people, especially fascist ones like Government Motors who are in bed with the government, then if they commit a crime then the corporation can be tried, convicted and sentenced just like a person.

You make it sound like I’m trying to shoot this decision down, but I’m not. While at first it may seem like this is a huge victory for the oligarchy, making it even easier for them to buy the government and thus increasing the free-speech gap between the rich and poor, on the other hand it is a huge blow to the oligarchy because it means that crony capitalism is a 1st amendment violation and corporations have much higher legal risk than before because if they commit murder the corporation can be sentenced to death.

But the oligarchy and their political organization aren’t going to do this, it’s up to the grass-roots to press the matter.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Liberals seem to have a lot of problems with liberty, particularly political free speech, whether it be talk radio, certain television news channels, conservative bloggers, or political donors, all who exercise protected speech under the constitution. In fact, liberal Democrats are not very liberal, and the 4 liberal justices on the Supreme Court aren’t very liberal either. They’re just Democrats. They’re really not even judges. Their judgement is entirely, predictably, repeatedly Democrat.

stefano1 on April 2, 2014 at 2:25 PM

crosspatch on April 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

I think the reason you don’t like my comments is because you are an amnesty supporting, big-gov progressive RINO who takes the side of the oligarchy on pretty much every issue, and now that I’ve pointed out that this decision actually hurts the oligarchy more than it helps, (but only if the grass-roots presses the matter), now you are on the defensive.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 2:28 PM

According to the SCOTUS the oligarchy is entitled to more free speech than the rest of us combined, however, based on the same decision the oligarchy can no longer use the government to redistribute most of the free-speech/money to themselves. If we succeed in putting a stop to the massive 1st amendment violations being perpetrated by the federal government we should be able to cut spending and balance the budget in a single year.

Quantitative Easing is the process by which the federal government prints up more-free speech out of thin air and distributes it to their cronies.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 2:38 PM

QE needs to be stopped immediately or else the corporations involved, the federal reserve, should be tried and convicted and sent to prison.

FloatingRock on April 2, 2014 at 2:39 PM

stefano1 on April 2, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Kagen admitted she had no idea how to write a decision for the Supreme Court when she was seated there and said outright that she was ‘in way over my head’. She says she’s ‘doing better now’.

I had no idea that the Supreme Court was an OJT employer.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Some truth to our brain-dead, liberal zombies out there:

1) If our politicians were required to abide by their Constitutionally-enforced limited powers we wouldn’t have to worry about corruption so much.
2) Obama and his Democratic cronies are all VERY wealthy and get HUGE contributions from rich liberals.
3) Actually, liberal Hollywood outspends the Koch brothers many times over so be careful what you wish for.

Once again, the Koch brothers are considered to be the “3/5″ group by the left. Go to the back of the bus Koch brothers, the master race has spoken.

Kingfisher on April 2, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Where did I advocate ‘total government control’? When a candidate had qualified to run, just as they do now, they’d automatically qualify for an equal share of funding, regardless of ideology.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Wow… You contradict yourself with two contiguous sentences and don’t even realize it.

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 3:04 PM

You know this has pissed off the liberals here as they defend laws made “by the establishment political groups they claim to despise” that was just struck down.

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 3:04 PM

You’re finding it’s a long climb down. Maybe you should have waited a little longer to come back and comment.

It’s callow and foolish to take up an argument just to spite ‘the other side’. In this case that argument seeks to keep all except those with wealth and power, or access to wealth and power, out of the political system by allowing those with extreme wealth to donate to as many political candidates, in as many states and communities that they desire, thus funding only those, in all states, who’s they believe will advance their own interests.

Any candidate without access to that kind of funding will have no voice, no opportunity to get his/her message to the people.

If you’re interested in how the system actually works, currently, every member of congress is a millionaire. Every single one. Why is that? How is that?

So, do you believe that Americans are best served with only those who are wealthy in their own right, and also have access to still more wealth and power, literally choosing which candidates you’ll be allowed to elect and what policies they’ll embrace?

If that’s the case, you deserve the governance you’ll get.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 3:26 PM

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 3:26 PM

BS.

Campaign finance laws have entrenched the oligarchy
like Harry Reid, Barak Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, John McCain and all the other people you support.

You think the Kennedy’s who supported campaign finance reform did so to allow others to try to take their governt jobs? No – it made IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to gather resources to counter the Kennedy’s entrenched power base.

That’s the fact jack.

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 3:38 PM

You’ve got a lot to learn, about politics, human nature, when an argument is over and, incidentally, about sentence structure and punctuation.

Good luck to you.

thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 3:45 PM

You’ve got a lot to learn, about politics, human nature, when an argument is over and, incidentally, about sentence structure and punctuation.
Good luck to you.
thatsafactjack on April 2, 2014 at 3:45 PM

You’re the one whining that all the congressman and senators are
Millionaires and therefore their campaign finance laws are correct to stop the boogie man oligarchy.

Logic. Learn it.

Now YOU can take a walk.

Skywise on April 2, 2014 at 4:00 PM

All campaigns should be publicly financed, and nobody should contribute to it.

sadatoni on April 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

So you want all campaigns financed by the government, and only those government decision makers get to decide who should be allowed to run for office?

Get off your knees, slave, and learn to be a man!

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on April 2, 2014 at 11:41 PM