The ink wasn’t dry on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling lifting caps on aggregate campaign contributions in federal races before the usual Democratic suspects started squealing like pigs caught under a gate.
Of course, Harry Reid had to drag out his favorite whipping boys, the Koch brothers, and stomp on them like he was doing a Mexican hat dance.
“The Supreme Court today just accentuated what they did on Citizens United, which is a decision that is one of the worst decisions in the history of that court,” Reid said. “All it does is take away people’s rights because, as you know, the Koch brothers are trying to buy America.”
Pay no attention to the union organizations behind the curtain, you know those dozens of unions that contributed far, far more to Democrats then the Koch brothers, who rank 59th in the list of top campaign spenders, ever thought about spending.
If it is possible, Nancy Pelosi may have frothed even more than Harry on this topic, exclaiming, “Our founders risked their lives, their liberty and their sacred honor to create a democracy — a government of the many, not a government of the money. After misguided and destructive court decisions in McCutcheon and Citizens United, it is clear that Congress must act swiftly to restore fairness to our campaign finance system.”
In his opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC, Chief Justice John Roberts explained that the court has long held that Congress may regulate campaign contributions in an effort to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption. Therefore, limits on how much one person may give to one candidate are OK, but limiting total spending by that one person is not.
“Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests,and Nazi parades — despite the profound offense such spectacles cause — it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition. …” Roberts writes. “Indeed, as we have emphasized, the First Amendment ‘has its fullest and most urgent application precisely to the conduct of campaigns for political office.’”
Roberts added that campaign finance restrictions that pursue objectives other than avoiding corruption are not permissible — such as trying to prevent someone from “buying” the country. He said that injects the government into the debate over who should govern. “And those who govern should be the last people to help decide who should govern,” he noted.