Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don't Blame The Supreme Court For Citizens United -- Blame Congress, The FEC And The IRS

Don't Blame The Supreme Court For Citizens United -- Blame Congress, The FEC And The IRS

The two most controversial campaign financing practices of the post-Citizens United era aren’t actually the Supreme Court’s fault.

The court's conservative majority most certainly expected that its 2010 ruling, which granted First Amendment rights to corporations and equated money to speech, would unleash unprecedented amounts of political spending.

But when people rail against Citizens United these days, they’re often complaining about two things in particular: the candidate-specific super PACs that implausibly claim to be independent of the candidates they’re backing, and the political slush funds that can accept unlimited secret donations by claiming to be issue-oriented nonprofits.

Neither were inevitable byproducts of Citizens United -- or a subsequent lower court ruling.

They are things that could be fixed either legislatively, administratively, or both. But without a good shove, Congress, the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service all appear unlikely to pursue solutions.

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