Monday, September 08, 2014

Will Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Bill Nelson vote to repeal Citizens United today? A big test for democracy … by gimleteye

The tidal wave of corporate and unrestricted private money is the shame of American democracy. Special interest money has created a shadow government characterized by cronyism and insider dealing, affecting everything from the operation of the economy to national security.

Although there is an opportunity for the US Senate to redress the imbalance -- by empowering Congress to create meaningful campaign finance reform -- the obstructionist GOP is not going to allow that to happen.

Why? For the same reason that in Florida the GOP erected burning tires in the way of Fair Districts: gerrymandering serves their purposes of unlimited control in service of special interests.

How special interests dominate Florida through the GOP was recently exposed by the Tampa Bay Times through the blatant "entertainment" of top Republican officials by Big Sugar, deploying fleets of private jets to ferry elected officials from Tallahassee to Texas to hunt. Billionaires serving billionaires.

So when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) warns the American people that country is facing a pivotal moment in history, calling the Senate effort to undo Supreme Court decisions that gutted campaign finance laws “the major issue of our time”, he's on the money.

In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve an amendment to the U.S. Constitution reversing two major Supreme Court rulings and reestablishing the authority of Congress to set campaign finance limits. The full Senate will vote on the measure today.

So what will happen today? Will the US Senate vote, in effect, to overturn the Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC rulings?

The two controversial Supreme Court decisions in 2010 and 2014, respectively, wiped out limits on independent expenditures (thus giving rise to the shifting of Dark Money through superPAC's) and on the total amount a person may give to candidates and committees in an election cycle.

Talking Points Memo wrote: "Restoring the First Amendment to allow Congress and the States the authority to impose reasonable limits on campaign spending is a commonsense measure that we should all be able to support," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the committee. "All Americans should be able to participate in our democracy – not just billionaires and wealthy corporations."

The July vote was a victory for progressives, passing the committee by a party-line vote of 10 to 8, winning every Democrat and none of the Republicans.

The measure needs a two-thirds majority in Congress before it can be sent to the states for ratification. If the GOP gets its way, billionaires will continue to filter unlimited and increasingly untraceable amounts of money into elections.

Republicans are proud of their opposition to the measure even though polls say most Americans support restoring limits on campaign finance spending.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is fighting one of the closest Senate races in the November election cycle, will pontificate why democracy should bend to the will of billionaires. But he won't put it that way.

If the GOP takes control of the US Senate in the November elections, Mitch McConnell will become Senate Majority Leader.

You may not like how the US Senate votes today, and one very good way to register your disapproval would be to immediately send your $5, $10, $100, $1000 contribution or more to Mitch McConnell's opponent in West Virginia, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Pay attention to how Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Bill Nelson vote today.


Mustang Bobby said...

Good post, but I give the amendment about a life expectancy of a spider on a griddle.

Small correction for you: "If the GOP takes control of the US Senate in the November elections, Mitch McConnell will become present of the Senate." If you mean that Mitch McConnell will become "president of the Senate," that job is already taken by Vice President Joe Biden; that's one of his few constitutionally-dictated duties. Mr. McConnell will become the Senate Majority Leader.

Gimleteye said...


Anonymous said...

Not going to happen no matter which way Rubio or Nelson vote. Never, and I mean never, would this bill get out of the House.
Election time politics as usual and you are playing right along.

Anonymous said...

If the above anon is right, then it is time for citizens to take matters into their own hands: at the polls.

Anonymous said...

Do you trust billionaires to know what is best for you and your family?

Anonymous said...

What does wealth have to do with trust or what is best for my family. Because a politician is poorer should I trust him or her more?

Why do we always assume government has our best interest in mind? Armen Alchian, an economist and an emeritus professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles once said there is one thing you can trust everyone to do and that is to put his interest above yours.

The self-interest of people in government leads them to behave in a way that is against the self-interest of the rest of us.

So do you really trust any politician to do what is best for me and my family? I don't.

Anonymous said...

The animating principle of the GOP -- and this is so true especially of Jeb Bush -- is that if you can put a dollar value on something, then business can protect it better than government. It's an infectious idea and that's exactly what has happened. A toxic infection.

Caffeine Clicks said...

Campaign finance reform would definitely be a good start for getting democracy back on track in this country and level the playing field.