Supreme Court Sides With Corporate Campaign Cash

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Businesses and labor unions, start your checkbooks: The Supreme Court's rollback of a 100-year-old ban on corporate spending in elections will mean an even larger torrent of TV commercials and direct mail come election time.

It was a ruling seen as good for Republicans and bad for Democrats, although the AFL-CIO also pushed for the decision.


Fred Wertheimer, founder campaign finance reform group Democracy 21, wrote in the New York Times:

Today's Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case is a disaster for the American people. It will unleash unprecedented amounts of corporate "influence-seeking" money on our elections and create unprecedented opportunities for corporate "influence-buying" corruption.

Politico noted that Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold, whose eponymous campaign finance reform bill was partially gutted by the ruling, "had divergent reactions - perhaps reflecting the impact the ruling may have on each of their parties." McCain said he was "disappointed"; Feingold called it a "terrible mistake" to "roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president."

Now that the Supremes have spoken, look for a mad scramble as corporations, unions, and assorted political players assess the new groundrules and attempt to extract maximum advantage for the midterm elections.

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Adam Pasick is the senior Asia correspondent for Quartz.

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