Money is speech!
That is the message the Supreme Court delivered with yesterday’s ruling on campaign contributions.
In a 5-4 decision the Court maintained the $2,600 limit an individual can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election as well as the $32,200 limit a donor can give to a national committee. But the Court struck down the $123,200 cap on contributions that an individual can give to all federal candidates, parties and political action committees over a two year period.
Translation…the limited amount of money that an individual can donate to a particular candidate remains in place. However the donor is now free to donate to as many candidates as he/she chooses.
Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, said that maintaining “limits on each contribution helps to prevent corruption, but limits on the number of donations must give way to basic First Amendment rights”
Writing for the minority, Justice Breyer expressed the concerns of those who see the ruling as paving the way for millionaires and billionaires to buy elections. “If Citizens United opened a door” Breyer wrote, “today’s decision, we fear, opened a floodgate.”
Liberals and left leaning pundits reacted to the ruling with typical “Hair on Fire” fervor; predicting once again the end of our democracy.
This is really no big deal.
First…money is like water. It will always find a way to its intended target. There is not a restriction or limitation on the books that will keep a donor’s money from getting to whomever it was intended.
Second…The emotional protestations from the left that the mega corporate donors on the right are going to use their deep pockets to buy elections, are disingenuous at best. Democrats have mega donors too! In fact Democrats have out raised Republicans by a large margin in the previous four election cycles.
Personally, we don’t care how much an individual or corporation donates. What we want is transparency. Let’s make all donations a matter of public record. Scan the checks and post them online. Let’s see just exactly where a candidate is getting his/her money. Let’s see who will have their ear if they get elected. Then we can decide if we want to give them our vote.
We are never going to stop the flow of money in politics. So let’s see where the money comes from.
Transparency is the key!