“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.