Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Debts of the Spenders: US Supreme Court Rules Corporations are People Too

Here are the views of the ABA Task Force on Financial Markets Regulatory Reform. It was presented to Congress this week.

For those who do not know, the ABA (American Bar Association) is an extremely influential and powerful lobbying group in Washington DC. The ABA is dominated by the interests of Big Law firms, most of whom have vested interests in the promotion of the status quo from their wealthy clients (e.g. maintaining lucrative contracts with Wall Street) and who themselves are big donors to US politicians.


Before reading this, I'd like readers to consider the comments in this context. The US Supreme Court (the highest court in the land) recently passed a decision that effectively ruled Corporations are people with the same powers of speech reserved for individuals when it comes to making political donations.

WASHINGTON — Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

The ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, overruled two precedents: Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 1990 decision that upheld restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates, and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, a 2003 decision that upheld the part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 that restricted campaign spending by corporations and unions.

The ruling represented a sharp doctrinal shift, and it will have major political and practical consequences. Specialists in campaign finance law said they expected the decision to reshape the way elections were conducted. Though the decision does not directly address them, its logic also applies to the labor unions that are often at political odds with big business.


Translation: US corporations may spend an UNLIMITED AMOUNT OF MONEY on politicians.

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