April 2, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.
Sadly, alarmingly, infuriatingly — it’s Citizens United all over again.
In a nutshell, the Supreme Court just permitted individuals — those who can afford to do so, at any rate — to dole out up to $5.9 million per election cycle to political candidates and parties.
Until today, the limit was $123,000.
So Citizens United allows Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants, predominantly in undisclosed contributions filtered through the likes of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — distorting our elections. And it allows billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon conduits to our elected officials.
Now McCutcheon removes meaningful restraints on direct giving to candidates. After today, really wealthy people can write a single check for almost $6 million to party leaders — who will in turn filter the funds to candidates and committees — to elect people who will do their bidding.
Yes, you and I now have this “right” too.
But do you have $6 million lying around?
There are literally only a few hundred people who can and will take advantage of this horrendous ruling. But those are exactly the people our elected officials will now be answering to.
That is not democracy. It is plutocracy.
But no matter what five Supreme Court justices say, the First Amendment was never intended to provide a giant megaphone for the wealthiest to use to shout down the rest of us.
This is the time for everyone who cares about the fate of our country to mobilize.
We couldn’t face a starker choice:
Accept rule by the few, based on wealth. Or join together to protect and reclaim our democracy — the notion that We the People decide.
We have to get to work RIGHT NOW:
3. Share this message to everyone you know who cares about the future of our democracy.
And stay tuned. I’ll have more, a lot more, in the days and weeks ahead.
President, Public Citizen