Political money just got darker

“As untold millions of dollars pour into the shadowy campaign troughs of the presidential candidates, voters need to be reminded of the rosy assumptions of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that legitimized the new spending frenzy,” The New York Times editorial board is reporting.

“In allowing unlimited spending on candidates by corporations and unions, the court’s decision, in 2010, blithely pronounced, ‘A campaign finance system that pairs corporate independent expenditures with effective disclosure has not existed before today.’

“The court majority in the 5-to-4 decision should have been watching this month when the Republican-controlled Congress, which has firmly bottled up all campaign disclosure legislation, voted to further cripple disclosure at two of its most vital points.

“In the new budget bill, Republicans inserted a provision blocking the Internal Revenue Service from creating rules to curb the growing abuse of the tax law by thinly veiled political machines posing as ‘social welfare’ organizations. These groups are financed by rich special-interest donors who do not have to reveal their identities under the tax law. So much for effective disclosure at the I.R.S.

“In another move to keep the public blindfolded about who is writing big corporate checks for federal candidates, the Republicans barred the Securities and Exchange Commission from finalizing rules requiring corporations to disclose their campaign spending to investors. It was Citizens United that foolishly envisioned a world in which: ‘Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.’”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

7 thoughts on “Political money just got darker”

  1. Now Mrs. Norm Sauer (like Mrs. George Rebane) of the Republican Women Federated in our community is responding to criticism of the group’s “audit” of The Union. It eats up a lot of ink.

    “Yes, Ms. Tobin, we, the members of Nevada County Republican Women Federated (NCRWF) too could just accuse The Union of being biased based on our feelings and be done with it. However, we believe that we owe it to all concerned to research the facts and tell the truth. We believe it is well worth the time and effort.”
    http://www.theunion.com/opinion/19701316-113/annamaria-sauer-republican-women-do-have-better-things

    Here’s the original letter:
    “Regarding publisher Jim Hemig’s column, “The editorial page challenge?” on Dec. 11, a group of women audited The Union’s Ideas and Opinions page from August 1 to October 3 and made a spreadsheet showing percentages of conservative/liberal/neutral submissions. Really? It seems some folks don’t have enough to do!”
    http://www.theunion.com/opinion/19591395-113/ardy-tobin-better-things-to-do

    What a hoot!

    1. What’s being missed is that the NCRWF is no where close to an unbiased organization. They are so far from neutral that any “study” or “findings” are null and void. To cite this organization as a valid source of research strikes the article meaningless.

  2. Our towns sure are making a name for themselves in our state! What kind of message is this sending to our Coastal families, college-educated millennials and job seekers? Meanwhile, this is a hoot: “Another XAMS! (sic)” — Todd Juvinall writes. A testament to a longtime local? How embarrassing for the majority of locals who can spell.

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