Wall Street’s takeover of the Obama cabinet is now complete. Officially it started on Jan. 32, 2010, on that day the Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban corporations from political spending on elections. Thus opening the floodgates allowing for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate officials into doing their bidding.
Citizens United v. FEC was the landmark court case regarding the political spending of large corporations. Since this allows companies to throw as much money as they want to the political elector of their choice, essentially the Supreme Court has handed more power to the small sector of the population that dominates the economy. One year after this decision was made a poll was taken showing that spending from outside groups had jumped to $294.2 million in 2010 as compared to the $68.9 million spent in 2006 (Kromm). Almost half of that money came from just 10 groups and in 60 out of 75 congressional races, the candidate benefitting the most from outside spending won at an 80 percent win rate. The money that pours into elections is well hidden because independent groups are not required by law to disclose their donations. 7 of the 10 groups did not provide any donor information but they donated nearly $138.5 million, that’s half of the total donations in 2010! A Survey USA poll found out that, when asked whether corporate campaign contributions represent “free speech” or “bribes”, 77 percent of the American population said “bribes” (Kromm).
Why is this so dangerous? Well, now corporate managers can in effect buy elections directly. They can then use the fact that they help these politicians into office to threaten them to vote for a bill that the company may be in favor of. Or else they will simply start a smear campaign against them. With no spending cap on TV ads for companies, the politician who will win is the one that has the most money thrown at them by different companies. A staffer inside the halls of congress summarized the dangers posed to the integrity of the legislative process by the Citizens United case when he asked “How do I say ‘no’ to a deep-pocketed corporate lobbyist who now has all the resources necessary to defeat my boss in the next election?”(Public Citizen) 75 seats in Congress switched parties in the November election and in 60 of those races, the winning candidate reaped more money from outside groups - money that would otherwise not be available if not for Citizens United. There are also no real paper trails to find examples of corporations using general treasury funds on advertisements aimed at influencing the outcome of elections because the Disclose Act was block in Congress.
There is now controversy surrounding this landmark case in regards to Justice Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas conflicts of interest. Did these two men have conflicts of interest when voting on this case? The watchdog group Common Cause filed a petition with the...