Citizens United Decision: Republicans Like It, Liberals Don't

That seems to be the emerging trend as reactions to the Supreme Court's campaign finance decision roll in. As the pro-business party in U.S. politics, Republicans have held a closer relationship with business than have Democrats; business-backed coalitions like the Chamber of Commerce--through which businesses have channeled their political spending--back Republicans, not Democrats. That's changed a bit since Democrats have come into power, as corporations have started giving more to Dems. Nonetheless...

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) likes the decision. He said: "For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today's monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day."

RNC Chairman Michael Steele likes it, too, though he said the ruling also disadvantages political parties: "Today's decision by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC, serves as an affirmation of the constitutional rights provided to Americans under the first amendment.  Free speech strengthens our democracy.  While the Court's recognition that organizations have the freedom to speak on public issues and have their views protected from censorship is fundamental, the Court has now left an imbalance that disadvantages national parties in their ability to support their candidates.  We need to encourage a vibrant debate on the issues, and not restrict the free exchange of ideas. Though there is still more work to be done, we are pleased with today's ruling."

The Service Employees International Union doesn't like it, although unions, along with corporations, won't be restricted anymore either. Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger said: "Today the US Supreme Court lifted the floodgates and started dismantling century-old restrictions on corporate electoral activity in the name of the 'free speech rights' of corporations--meaning if you are a 'corporate person' (aka a CEO or corporate official), you are now free to hit the corporate ATM and spend whatever of your shareholders' money it takes to elect the candidates of your choice. Unlimited corporate spending in federal elections threatens to drown out the voices of the people who should really be at the center of the political process, i.e., voters and candidates."

And ActBlue Chairman Matt DeBergalis, who runs the liberal online fundraising/individual-donation-funneling outfit, says he's disappointed with the decision but that, in general, letting people give money is better than not: "While ActBlue is disappointed by the decision of the court in the matter of Citizens United v. FEC, we know that corporate money has always maneuvered around the legislative barriers erected by Congress. Moreover, the academic doomsaying around this issue overlooks an essential truth about American politics: millions of engaged Americans are always worth more than millions of corporate dollars."