Last week’s Daily Republic “question of the week” was: “Do you agree with the Supreme Court on donations ruling?”
The Supreme Court, in McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission, eliminated the aggregate dollar limit that an individual can invest in political candidates and political parties.
Now, you are not limited to a measly $123,200 every election cycle, when purchasing politicians. The last time I checked, Daily Republic readers were disagreeing with the Supreme Court’s decision by a 2-to-1 margin. Good for you, most of Fairfield. But what about you other 33 percent; were you really hurting yourselves, bumping your heads on that $123,200 limit?
According to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice:
“From the nation’s inception, the Founders sought to ensure the integrity of the new system of representative government. Aggregate contribution limits were a continuation of the Founders’ dedication to defeating corruption. Striking down the aggregate limits would allow wealthy Americans to give over $3.5 million directly to politicians and parties each election cycle, inviting a torrent of funds that would undermine faith in government integrity. The undue access and influence to elected officials springing from these contributions would raise the specter of corruption at a time when faith in government is already distressingly low.”
Dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that “(This is) a decision that substitutes judges’ understandings of how the political process works for the understanding of Congress; that fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone; that overturns key precedent; that creates huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.”
But Chief Justice John Roberts and four other conservatives sympathized with the wretched plight of America’s wealthy few. Even though they could contribute an unlimited amount of money to Super PACs, about 600 people were, sadly, unable to contribute more than $123,200 to candidates and political parties in the last election.
Roberts wrote that with the current law, “A donor must limit the number of candidates he supports, and may have to choose which of several policy concerns he will advance, (which are) clear First Amendment harms.” And, “the whole point of the First Amendment is to afford individuals protection against such infringements.”
To Roberts, nothing else seems to matter, including and especially, the termination of our sacred American doctrine of representational government in exchange for outright plutocracy without the slightest pretense of equality.
To me, a more frightening aspect of this ruling is that Roberts is very clearly signaling that he thinks the individual campaign and political party limits are also unconstitutional. I have little doubt that issue will be decided by the Roberts Supreme Court in the near future and, that this court will again rule 5 to 4 in favor of wealth.
While rapidly becoming less difficult, purchasing politicians is still broadly considered un-American, and embarrassed monarchs seek anonymity. The party of wealth consistently shields their sponsors. California’s Republican state senators last month blocked Senate Bill 27, which would have required identification of those who contributed more than $50,000 to political action groups operating in California. They have also blocked the Disclose Act, requiring information on political advertising to list the three largest donors, and their congressional counterparts have also stymied a national version of this bill.
Murray Bass wrote an article last week titled: “2014 elections too important to sit out” and I agree 100 percent with his title. Concerned citizens must continually oppose the ever-advancing tsunamis of political prostitution, black-box voting and voter suppression with the finest tools in our box, our voices and our votes.
Mike Kirchubel grew up in Fairfield and is the author of “Vile Acts of Evil – Banking in America.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.