April 2, 2014
Ben Wakana, 202-295-7608
Shea-Porter Blasts McCutcheon Decision on House Floor
“The worst affront to democracy since Citizens United”
Shea-Porter does not accept money from Corporate PACs or DC Lobbyists
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) voiced outrage on behalf of millions of average Americans whose voices will be drowned out by today’s Supreme Court decision to give wealthy campaign donors even more influence over Congress.
“Today’s Supreme Court McCutcheon decision is the worst affront to democracy since Citizens United,” Shea-Porter said on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Today’s ruling will increase the role money plays in American politics. According to the AP, the Court’s conservative majority said that Americans have a right to give the legal maximum to candidates for Congress and president, as well as to parties and PACs, without worrying that they will violate the law when they bump up against a limit on all contributions, set at $123,200 for 2013 and 2014. That includes a separate $48,600 cap on contributions to candidates.
The ruling overturned decades of precedent on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties, and political action committees.
Speaking for the dissent, Justice Breyer said, “today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”
The five Republican appointees on the court, Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Thomas and Scalia, know full well the ability of money to influence, and the ability of money to corrupt. Yet, in Citizens United v FEC, and McCutcheon v FEC, both 5-4 decisions, the court concluded there was no connection between unbridled political spending and quid-pro quo corruption. It decided that its overwhelming interest was in somehow "leveling the playing field" between rich and poor political participants/contributors by unleashing the overwhelming political power of the rich over the poor. Its reasoning is based, in part, on its determination that corporations are people; thus, as with real people, corporations have a right to speech. A 1976 court ruling determined that money is speech. The confluence of this logic merged in the court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United v FEC, the effect of which is now greatly expanded in the April 2, 2014 ruling in McCutcheon v FEC.
The same 5 Republican appointees in another inexplicable 5 - 4 ruling last year gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, even as some states were engaging in voter suppression. And that suppression continues, no more outrageous than in a key swing state, Ohio, where denying Ohioans their right to vote is legendary. Justice Ginsburg speaking for the minority observed that gutting the Voting Rights Act was like "throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."
There is no silver lining to the rulings by our 5 - 4 "conservative," pro-business U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United and McCutcheon … other than an angry electorate rising to a new level of involvement, determined to find trusted sources of information, using their common sense to escape the fog of bunk, and voting en mass. An effective means of identifying the source of potential bunk is a legally enforceable disclosure law in New Hampshire… that is, a law requiring special-interest organizations engaged in political spending to register their existence with the state, and reporting their expenditures and the target of those expenditures on a timely basis. Such a disclosure law exists in SB 120, currently winding its way through the legislature.
Much more on debunking the myth of voter fraud and the far more effective way of altering election results in future posts.
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham
The Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You. on Mother Jones