Campaign Finance Changes in 2010 and Beyond

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Supreme Court's decision yesterday in Citizens United v. FEC will significantly change the legal landscape for campaign finance, allowing corporations, unions and other organizations to spend as much as they like for ads supporting a particular candidate or party.

To discuss the impact on this year's congressional and gubernatorial races and those in the future, we are joined by former Republican Rep. Chris Shays from Connecticut, who strongly disagrees with yesterday's ruling; and political consultant Dane Strother, who has consulted with Democrats on Senate and Presidential races.

Guests:

Chris Shays and Dane Strother

Produced by:

Adi Narayan

Comments [12]

Jim from Brooklyn

Some of the listener comments on the Citizens United SC case showed that the listeners thought the case allowed corporations to make "campaign contributions". That is incorrect. The case allows independent expressions of viewpoints, not cash to candidates. Broadcasting these comments without clarifying the holding of the case will probably mislead more listeners. For them, the Takeaway will be misinformation.

Jan. 25 2010 09:02 AM
Charles

Bill's comment is a remarkable exercise in selecitve thinking. Here is Bill's central point:

"The difference is that NY Times is openly and consistently a 'Commentary Corporation', while XYZ Corp makes widgets. The public knows who and what a newspaper is, and even the US Constitution provides for the freedom of the NY Times to be a press organization. XYZ Corp is not in the business of fair commentary, it is in the widget business, and its commentary can be expected to be designed (or slanted, who knows?) to the furtherance of its widget business."

Bill, the First Amendment does NOT say "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech... of media corporations."

If Bill thinks that we can rest a Constitutional right on the notion that the New York Times deserves special privileges as a "press organization," involved "in the business of fair commentary," then there's a bridge in Brooklyn I might like to sell him.

Jan. 23 2010 04:00 PM
Bill from new jersey

There is a previous comment in this string that rightly points out that the NY Times is a corporation. The question is then raised as to why the NY Times (or its conservative rival the NY Post) gets to comment on politics and elections while XYZ Corp up to now has been curbed?

The difference is that NY Times is openly and consistently a 'Commentary Corporation', while XYZ Corp makes widgets. The public knows who and what a newspaper is, and even the US Constitution provides for the freedom of the NY Times to be a press organization. XYZ Corp is not in the business of fair commentary, it is in the widget business, and its commentary can be expected to be designed (or slanted, who knows?) to the furtherance of its widget business. I greatly believe that our democracy is better off if commercial widget companies and labor unions (whose speech is legally called commercial speech, by the way) are banned from political speech. In return I am willing to let private citizens, no matter how rich, engage in all the political speech that they care to pay for. The Supreme Court has fuzzied up the distinction between commercial speech and political free speech in a way that our Founding Fathers would find either very confusing or just laughable.

Jan. 22 2010 03:27 PM
Charles

The Takeaway's listeners seem to think it ridiulous, to give corporations rights under the First Amendment. Have I got that right?

What if the corporation in question is the Tnew York Times, or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or NPR, or Slate.com? And what if one of those corporations seeks to protect its right to convey a controversial editorial position? Or to print an unpopular story?

Do you all still think it silly to give one of those corporations First Amendment protection in that kind of case?

I wonder why John Hockenberry did not invite an ACLU lawyer to speak about the decision. The ACLU supported Citizens United in this case. Are we to understand that the ACLU is now siding with corporatist "fascism"?

What a disappointment this broadcast, and these Comments, are.

Jan. 22 2010 02:22 PM
Eden Mountbatten-Lim from Oklahoma

Rule by companies is called Fascism, look it up.

Jan. 22 2010 11:53 AM
steve brown from Hanahan, SC

I'm so disturbed re: the SC ruling that I have to speak up.... 1) when will 'the people' wake up to the fact that the Republicans are the party of big business and the corporations (see who is speaking out in joy about this ruling!) 2)tea party folks should be upset about the corporations rather than the government.3) regarding the republican 'concerns' about LIBERAL court activism; what about this CONSERVATIVE court activism? is this a furtherance of the Powell Manifesto?
Thanks for letting me rant!!!

Jan. 22 2010 10:02 AM
Robert Matlock

Congress and Obama should FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE, change the size of the court by two to overturn this ridiculous decision.

Jan. 22 2010 09:53 AM
Yankeetom from South Carolina

It seems to me, if money = speech, many of us don't have any. And the same politicians that say they do not want Constitutional rights given to foreign persons, have no problem accepting money from foreign entities. Money is not the ' mothers milk ' of politics, it is the ' crank ' of disenfranchisement.

Jan. 22 2010 09:49 AM
Russ from NJ

Todd:

Get the metaphor right.

Pelosi is "pulling in the sails". No, she's "easing the sails"

"Trim" sails (pull in) = to capture more air whilst heading up-wind to typically maximize speed

"Ease" sails (ease out) = to dump air whilst heading up-wind to typically prevent being "over power" by having captured too much air. Pelosi was about to be overpowered and so she "eased the sail"

Steve Cogate has a wonderful sailing school for neophytes in the MD, likely annapolis. Will also help with your use of metaphors having to do with the high seas.

Cheers

Jan. 22 2010 09:32 AM
Omer from New Jersey

If corporations and rich people get to spend unlimited amount on political campaign, we should prohibit them from hiding their names under shell organizations. Let them put their name in the open behind on candidates, issues, etc. Not lobying organizations name nor their trade associations. Their names, their brand on display. Then I will choose who to buy from or not.

Jan. 22 2010 09:09 AM
Bryan

I can't believe how much this sounds like a civil rights issue. Corporation Rights? Only in America.

Jan. 22 2010 09:08 AM
rich from NYC

Please, can we get an interview from a legal pundit that supports (and in my opinion the correct decision) the Supreme Court decision on the application of first amendment rights? Can we have both sides of this issue on the "Take Away"!
Corporations/Unions (an association of US citizens) are taxed like they are citizens so it is clear that first amendment rights should be extended to these associations.

Jan. 22 2010 08:56 AM

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