The wealthy continue to attempt to rig our democracy

The wealthy continue to attempt to rig our democracy

The United States’ election process continues to be infringed upon by the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The aforementioned United States constitutional law case held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political Independent Expenditures (IE) by corporations, associations or labor unions.

In a nutshell, the decision was described as Corporations are people. If an entity is a person, giving money to whomever one desires is protected by the First Amendment.

Giving money is viewed as freedom of speech.

For example candidates seeking a state office in California, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has set guidelines for contributions:

$2,600 per election to a Federal candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee

$5,000 per calendar year to a PAC. This limit applies to a PAC (political action committee) that supports Federal candidates.

$10,000 per calendar year to a State or local party committee.

$32,400 per calendar year to a national party committee. This limit applies separately to a party’s national committee, House campaign committee and Senate campaign committee.

$100 in currency (cash) to any political committee. (Anonymous cash contributions may not exceed $50.)

For federal elections the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sets the guidelines for contributions: 

But the key phrase is the amount of money that can be given to a candidate. With Super PACs—also known as Independent Expenditures (IE)—a person or corporation can spend as much as they want to support or oppose a candidate as long as there is no proof that they have worked with any candidate or the respective campaign staff.

Individuals and groups may support or oppose candidates by making independent expenditures. An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate and which is not made in coordination with any campaign, candidate, political party committee, or with an agent of any campaign, candidate, or political party committee.

Independent expenditures are not subject to any contribution limits.

FEC

Also owing to Citizens United Super Pacs get to decide when they do their reporting:


Super PACs are required to report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or semiannual basis — the super PAC’s choice — in off-years, and monthly in the year of an election.

Opensecrets

One of the greatest violators of the spirit of voting is in 2020 is conservative Super Pac the Senate Leadership Fund. Senate Leadership Fund spent over $220 million dollars to defeat Democratic candidates.  It spent $47 million to defeat Cunningham in his North Carolina and $16 million to defeat Harrison in his South Carolina Senate race. It currently has poured $43 million in an attempt to defeat Ossoff in the Georgia Senate race.

Some of its biggest donors are One Nation, Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment & Research, Citadel LLC, Blackstone Group, Chevron, and National Association of Realtors, and Koch Industries.

Over $2 billion in dark money  has been raised during this election seasons.

Citizens United must be overturned.

“We make the rules of the economy – and we have the power to change those rules.” – Robert Reich

Don’t let anyone tell you that we can’t change the rules. The people can change the rules, but the first thing we all have to do is know that the game has been rigged.


Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals

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