Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Courts say NO to McCain Feingold Provision

This is an interesting development, the highest court of the land has decided to overturn a major provision of the largest and most comprehensive campaign finance reform to date. The court in a 5-4 split said Corporations can now spend as much as they like on Presidential and Congressional elections but keeps the restriction on individual candidates. The first thought that comes to mind is that this is a huge win for Republicans, who are usually the supports of big business. This would not necessarily be the case. Even though the court split down a familiar line the supporters of this do not.

It turns out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO both urged the court to strike down the provision, as did the NRA and the American Civil Liberties Union. The Democratic National Committee and Sen. McCain both argued for the law's constitutionality. Did that make sense you? It didn't make sense to me at first either but upon closer examination it may make more sense than it seems.

If you believe John McCain's words of the last several years he really believes in campaign finance reform. The Democrats as a party know that dollar for dollar they can't compete with the republicans in each and every election. They were able to raise record dollars for Obama and several others in 2008 but that's with the McCain Feingold provision in place. If that were not in effect in 2008 corporate donations would have been a major game changer.

The National Rifle Association for the most part supports Republicans but has on occasion been known to champion a democrat with a positive voting record on gun rights. The AFL-CIO mainly backs Democrats as the main supporter of Labor Unions even though they will endorse a republican from time to time if they pander to labor. Similar splits down party lines exist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union.

What does this mean? Well simplified it means that both sides realize that they can muster more support for their individual causes by using corporate dollars on their side of any given piece of legislation or on a particular candidate running for office. Who really looses? Well in my opinion the American People do. Once again we move backwards instead of forwards on an issue that has major implications for the future of our nation. We really need tighter campaign finance reform that removes money from the equation.

I understand the 1st amendment argument of removing corporations ability to voice their support but what's wrong with running a commercial or an advertisement that says, "My Corporation supports John Doe for president." They could use their own money and put it all on the line right there for everyone to see rather than doing it behind the scenes by donating to the national convention where donations are only visible to those who choose to do the research.

This is another issue that I would like to see the TEA Party movement embrace in the near future. In the short run the court decision will probably benefit my side of the argument but in the long run we need to realize this only damages our freedom by allowing big corporate dollars to have more influence than individual citizens.



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