By Peter OverbyBRAD SMITH: Voter turnout is up. There haven’t been big scandals. Races have been more competitive. So we think it’s a good thing to kind of put a nail in the coffin of this idea that Citizens United might be reversed.
By Eliza CarneyThe amendments on the table are patently unconstitutional and would rob civic groups, soccer leagues and churches of their basic right to associate and speak out, say scholars at the Center for Competitive Politics. Polls show that the segment of the public believing the First Amendment does not go too far reached a high of 79 percent last year, noted President David Keating, citing a 2011 survey by the First Amendment Center.“I don’t see Congress passing it, ” Keating said. “And even if it did, I don’t see three-quarters of the states ratifying it. It’s just too dangerous a concept.”
By Tracy JanBradley Smith, a professor at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, and former member of the Federal Election Commission, said none of the horror stories some said would come out of the 2010 decision have materialized.“This fear that corporations would basically dictate policy and drive everybody else out, there is no evidence of that,” Smith said, citing higher voter turnout, more competitive races, and the fact that Fortune 500 companies are not dominating politics as reasons why the court should not reconsider Citizens United.
By Paul Blumenthal
The Center for Competitive Politics, a group supportive of Citizens United and money in politics, said in a blog post on its website, “The First Amendment means the same thing in Montana as it does everywhere else in the country: people, no matter their associative status, may speak freely about politics.”
Brad Smith, chairman and co-founder of the Center for Competitive Politics. He is a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.
By Chip Mellor
This avalanche of negative coverage is frustrating to free speech advocates because it isn’t warranted by the reality of super PACs. At their most basic level, super PACs are just groups of people that pool money to spend on political speech. Individuals have always been permitted to spend as much as they want on such speech as long as they act alone, but until recently federal law prohibited groups of people from contributing more than $5,000 apiece to do the same thing. That meant that Bill Gates could spend $1 billion on political ads if he wished, but if you got together with your neighbor, you’d be limited to spending $10,000 total. The Institute for Justice, allied with the Center for Competitive Politics, challenged that irrational restriction in a case called SpeechNow.org. v. FEC. Our victory in that case in March of 2010 laid the legal groundwork for the creation of what have come to be known as super PACs, which are just speaking in the same way that wealthy individuals have been allowed to speak for decades.
By Joe TrotterThe Supreme Court reaffirmed the Citizens United decision yesterday with American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock.
EditorialIt is not as if those five justices could be unaware of the effects of Citizens United, and of the various court and administrative decisions that followed it. They could hardly have missed the $300 million in outside spending that deluged the 2010 Congressional elections or the reports showing that more than $1 billion will be spent by outside groups on Republican candidates this year, overwhelming the competition.
EditorialIt’s worth pondering how powerful those corporations actually were back then if they couldn’t stop the state Legislature from passing this law. It’s also worth asking if the alleged mischief that took place more than a century ago sheds much light on the realities of modern politics.
By Sam FavateGov. Brian Schweitzer and Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger took their bipartisan message to YouTube yesterday, saying “Republicans and Democrats don’t always agree on policy matters, but there’s one thing we do agree on, and that is corporate money should not influence the outcome of an election.”
By Rick PearsonDick Durbin, the state’s senior U.S. senator, said today it may take the appointment of new justices to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that legalized so-called super PACs after the court refused to revisit the issue in a Montana case.
By DAVID FIRESTONEThe justices of the Supreme Court follow the news, and must be aware of the transformation of American politics that followed their Citizens United decision in 2010. They have watched as hundreds of millions of special-interest dollars flowed into super PACs, and into secretive advocacy groups that violate the court’s own preference for disclosure.
By Joseph Tanfani and Melanie MasonToday, with those fundraising restrictions largely removed, many conservatives have changed their tune. They now say disclosure could be an enemy of free speech.
Candidates and parties
By Byron Tau“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court did not take the opportunity presented by the Montana case to revisit its decision in Citizens United,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
Lobbying and ethics
By Anna PalmerFor years, international public relations and advertising firms have bought up Washington lobby shops looking to pad their bottom line. And many lobbyists were happy to take the big bucks.