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(Mother Jones)   As soon as tomorrow, the USSC could hand down its decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, and is expected to strike down all limits on all campaign contributions. The positive result? It could kill off the tea party. The bad? Replacement with oligarchs   (motherjones.com ) divider line
    More: PSA, Federal Election Commission, campaign contributions, McCutcheon, Supreme Court, positive result, ussc  
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1745 clicks; posted to Politics » on 24 Feb 2014 at 1:49 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-24 12:23:04 PM  
Good. Rich people really don't have enough power or influence over politics.
 
2014-02-24 12:38:36 PM  
The final breath, and representative democracy dies
 
2014-02-24 12:40:18 PM  
It's cool.  I have a refrigerator.  That my landlord lets me use.
 
2014-02-24 12:52:08 PM  
This will open the door to Labor Unions wielding an ungodly amount of power, and the only way to combat this corruptive influence on our political system will be to combine significant tax cuts for the rich with powerful protections in place to prevent unions from swelling their numbers through scare tactics. Perhaps an ceiling on union membership and a requirement that all dues past a certain level must be donated to the employer to help offset health care costs? We need to do something.
 
2014-02-24 12:53:51 PM  
Well that settles it.  I've decided to become a billionaire so I can have more free speech.  It was too much trouble up until now, but I have seen the light.
 
2014-02-24 12:56:02 PM  
Killing the Tea Party would be nice, but if the price is giving MORE control to the DNC and RNC, I don't know if it's a fair trade.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-02-24 12:58:14 PM  
It works in Russia.  What's the worst that could happen?
 
2014-02-24 01:06:16 PM  
Headline says they could do this...what are the odds that they grow a conscious in their decision making?
 
2014-02-24 01:06:30 PM  
Looks like it's almost time to crack open each others' skulls and feast on the goo inside.
 
2014-02-24 01:07:39 PM  

somedude210: Headline says they could do this...what are the odds that they grow a conscious in their decision making?


I'd say about a 55.556% chance.
 
2014-02-24 01:13:26 PM  

somedude210: Headline says they could do this...what are the odds that they grow a conscious conscience in their decision making?


FTFY.

As for answering your question, I'm catching a flight to Vegas tonight to bet my entire life savings and all of my future earnings on SCOTUS at least striking down the aggregate donation limits as unconstitutional.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-02-24 01:16:46 PM  

somedude210: Headline says they could do this...what are the odds that they grow a conscious in their decision making?


I don't know if Thomas will be conscious.  It's hard to say from what I hear, so it's a coin toss.
 
2014-02-24 01:20:30 PM  
Time to amend the ol' Constitution.
 
2014-02-24 01:53:42 PM  
Given the Supremes' decision in Citizens United (and their equally misguided decision nearly 40 years ago in Buckley v. Valeo that "money=speech"), and whatever they decide in this new case, it's pretty difficult to get around the bullshiat "constitutional" theory that "money is speech, so people (and especially corporations) should be able to spend as much money influencing elections as they want because if you disagree you hate free speech you goddamn commie," it's difficult to find ways to limit the influence of money in ways that the whores on Supreme Court won't find a way to say is unconstitutional.

Limits on contribution amounts don't seem to work, so I think it needs to be attacked from another angle.  Lots of politicians (especially Republicans) seem to talk up "transparency" as a key to campaign finance reform--immediately posting the identity of donors on the Internet, etc.--but I can't see how that decreases influence.  If anything, it seems to increase influence when politicians know in real time exactly who has given what and to whom they now owe favors--it seems that, in that respect, anonymity might even be better.  So here's my suggestion for a way to improve the current system:

1.  You can "contribute" as much goddamn money as you want to political campaigns, but you can't hand it over directly to the campaign.  Directly giving money to a campaign is now illegal, and punishable in a manner similar to bribery.

2.  All contributions have to go to a central government agency that's in charge of immediately distributing the money to the campaigns without identifying the donor.  You want to give $1 million to the Republican Party?  Fine, but you can't write a check made payable  to the Republican Party--you write it to U.S. (or State) Campaign Finance Agency, and fill out a half-page form saying who you are, how much you're giving, and who it's supposed to be given to.  This one-page form is a personal, confidential document that the government releases to nobody, similar to the way your income tax return is a private document.  (It could be that the agency could retain a tiny percentage of each contribution--0.1% or something--to pay administrative costs, but those costs would be very small and could probably just be absorbed in the general fund.)

3. Once a week, month, whatever, the agency bundles all the contributions collected that week, and distributes them in a lump sum to each campaign, with no indication of the identity of the contributors.  So the $1 million you gave to the Republican Party (or to Senator Chucklehead's campaign) is aggregated with all of the rest of the contributions to the Republican Party (or Senator Chucklehead) that week, and the GOP (or Senator Chucklehead's campaign) gets a big check that includes your contribution and all others received that week or month
.

4. There would also need to be accompanying tweaks to current campaign finance workarounds--for example, no more "$100,000 a plate" fundraiser dinners--tickets to fundraising events would have to be priced at a reasonable multiple of the actual cost of what's being provided--no charging $100K for a $10 chicken dinner, but maybe you can charge $50 instead, whatever.

Are your "free speech" rights violated?  No, if you want to support a political candidate, you contribute whatever money you want to help that person get elected.  And that's what this form of "speech" is supposed to be about, right--it's supposed to be all about helping them get elected, rather than influencing their actions once they're in office, isn't it?  But wait, couldn't, let's say, the Koch Brothers still try to influence the candidate by saying "Hey, do what I want and I'll contribute a million bucks" (or, alternatively, "I gave you a million bucks last month, so do what I want")?  Sure, they can try, but you, or I, or anybody else could say the same thing and the candidate would have no way of knowing whether or not it was true, so there's no way of knowing whether or not the promise to give money was an empty promise and utter bullshiat.  An a minimum, it would certainly reduce the influence if nobody got to waive a check in front of a candidate's face in exchange for a favor.

And wait, isn't it an unconstitutional restriction on one's free speech rights to make their contributions secret so they couldn't prove their support for the candidate?  Why?  This is all about elections, and the most important and cherished component of support in an election--voting--is always done by a secret ballot, and there's nothing unconstitutional about that, nor would we want it any other way.  Why would electoral money have to be public when electoral voting is private?

Of course, nobody in government has ever proposed this system as far as I know, and likely never will.  Because it certainly doesn't benefit current officeholders, who would be the ones to write the legislation.  I still think it's a worthwhile idea, though.
 
2014-02-24 01:54:22 PM  
I, personally, have very little doubt about which way the Roberts Court will rule, given its history with these types of cases. And just think - if the GOP gets the White House in 2016, we could get a radically conservative SCOTUS for the next 25-30 years.
 
2014-02-24 01:54:36 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: somedude210: Headline says they could do this...what are the odds that they grow a conscious in their decision making?

I'd say about a 55.556% chance.


It's closer to 55.555555555555555555555555556%


You need a wider calculator.
 
2014-02-24 01:56:07 PM  

nmrsnr: Time to amend the ol' Constitution.


Yea good luck with that.
 
2014-02-24 01:57:40 PM  
"Replace"?? Don't we pretty much have this now?
 
2014-02-24 02:00:02 PM  

Cyberluddite: And wait, isn't it an unconstitutional restriction on one's free speech rights to make their contributions secret so they couldn't prove their support for the candidate?  Why?  This is all about elections, and the most important and cherished component of support in an election--voting--is always done by a secret ballot, and there's nothing unconstitutional about that, nor would we want it any other way.  Why would electoral money have to be public when electoral voting is private?


One could argue that unattributed contributions aren't speech, because reasons... I'm not a lawyer or even on the debate team, but that could be argued if somebody wanted to.
 
2014-02-24 02:03:15 PM  
Why would this kill the Tea Party?
 
2014-02-24 02:04:56 PM  

Iworkformsn: Why would this kill the Tea Party?


And what works against Zombie Tea Partiers?
 
2014-02-24 02:05:01 PM  

nmrsnr: Time to amend the ol' Constitution.


If your solution to a problem involves amending the constitution, you don't actually have a solution to said problem.
 
2014-02-24 02:07:08 PM  
Campaign contributions shouldn't mean anything. An educated and engaged populace should be researching the policies of the electorate and making an informed decision rather than voting for the guy with the best hair on his billboard picture.
 
2014-02-24 02:07:23 PM  

Iworkformsn: Why would this kill the Tea Party?


Who needs to funnel money through an astro-turf middleman?
 
2014-02-24 02:08:59 PM  

Geotpf: nmrsnr: Time to amend the ol' Constitution.

If your solution to a problem involves amending the constitution, you don't actually have a solution to said problem.


Horseshiat.  Are you saying that all amendments to the consitution were unnecessary?

If SCOTUS says it is unconstitutational to limit campaign donations, the only way to limit campaign donations is through an amendment (unless of course, SCOTUS changes their ruling... which is even less likely to happen).
 
2014-02-24 02:10:34 PM  
So if the Republican party is able to silence the Tea Party, does anyone think that those who swelled the ranks of the Tea Party will just fade away?
Me, I think they will just be that much closer to acts of violence instead of just violent rhethoric.
 
MFK
2014-02-24 02:10:48 PM  

Geotpf: nmrsnr: Time to amend the ol' Constitution.

If your solution to a problem involves amending the constitution, you don't actually have a solution to said problem.


Normally I would agree with you but in this case you have a SCOTUS who is putting partisan ideology before actual jurisprudence.

When the justification for allowing unchecked campaign contributions is there is no "evidence" that unlimited corporate cash would cause corruption or the risk of corruption while willfully ignoring the sum total of human history, you've got a situation that calls for more than just saying "oh shucks" and dealing with it.
 
2014-02-24 02:11:30 PM  

Egoy3k: Campaign contributions shouldn't mean anything.


"Yeah, it shouldn't. But we don't live in Shouldland. Ah, Shouldland! Where clean-cut kids cruise Shouldland Boulevard and the Shouldland High football team get their optimistic asses kicked by their crosstown rival, Reality Check Tech."
-Stan Smith

//Just couldn't help myself.
//Cheers
 
2014-02-24 02:11:50 PM  
SCOTUS will probably rule that any arbitrary limits are bad and will leave the door open to an all or nothing situation.  You can either donate to your hearts content or there is no such thing as political contributions.
 
2014-02-24 02:13:59 PM  

YodaTuna: nmrsnr: Time to amend the ol' Constitution.

Yea good luck with that.


You're telling me we can't find some simple language and get 38 states to call a ConCon?

// considering there are cheerleaders for the "unlimited untracked spending for all!" who make under $30k/year, you're probably right
 
2014-02-24 02:14:27 PM  

Cyberluddite: Given the Supremes' decision in Citizens United (and their equally misguided decision nearly 40 years ago in Buckley v. Valeo that "money=speech"), and whatever they decide in this new case, it's pretty difficult to get around the bullshiat "constitutional" theory that "money is speech, so people (and especially corporations) should be able to spend as much money influencing elections as they want because if you disagree you hate free speech you goddamn commie," it's difficult to find ways to limit the influence of money in ways that the whores on Supreme Court won't find a way to say is unconstitutional.

Limits on contribution amounts don't seem to work, so I think it needs to be attacked from another angle.  Lots of politicians (especially Republicans) seem to talk up "transparency" as a key to campaign finance reform--immediately posting the identity of donors on the Internet, etc.--but I can't see how that decreases influence.  If anything, it seems to increase influence when politicians know in real time exactly who has given what and to whom they now owe favors--it seems that, in that respect, anonymity might even be better.  So here's my suggestion for a way to improve the current system:

1.  You can "contribute" as much goddamn money as you want to political campaigns, but you can't hand it over directly to the campaign.  Directly giving money to a campaign is now illegal, and punishable in a manner similar to bribery.

2.  All contributions have to go to a central government agency that's in charge of immediately distributing the money to the campaigns without identifying the donor.  You want to give $1 million to the Republican Party?  Fine, but you can't write a check made payable  to the Republican Party--you write it to U.S. (or State) Campaign Finance Agency, and fill out a half-page form saying who you are, how much you're giving, and who it's supposed to be given to.  This one-page form is a personal, confidential document that the government relea ...


If money is the same as speech and any restriction is unconstitutional, how can there be bribery laws at all?  There is a constitutional right to communicate with legislators and petition for the redress of grievances, how can there be any difference between petitioning with a letter or a wad of cash?
 
2014-02-24 02:16:07 PM  

Pocket Ninja: This will open the door to Labor Unions wielding an ungodly amount of power, and the only way to combat this corruptive influence on our political system will be to combine significant tax cuts for the rich with powerful protections in place to prevent unions from swelling their numbers through scare tactics. Perhaps an ceiling on union membership and a requirement that all dues past a certain level must be donated to the employer to help offset health care costs? We need to do something.


:applauds:  Like a thin knife deftly inserted between the ribs.
 
2014-02-24 02:16:09 PM  
Um, hey dummies, you DO realize that the Tea party is run by oligarchs, right?

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?cu rr entPage=all
 
2014-02-24 02:17:49 PM  

Flargan: Egoy3k: Campaign contributions shouldn't mean anything.

"Yeah, it shouldn't. But we don't live in Shouldland. Ah, Shouldland! Where clean-cut kids cruise Shouldland Boulevard and the Shouldland High football team get their optimistic asses kicked by their crosstown rival, Reality Check Tech."
-Stan Smith

//Just couldn't help myself.
//Cheers


Heh.  I'm fully aware that what I posted is never going to happen but it's a very human trait to rail at the monumentally stupid realities of life.
 
2014-02-24 02:18:00 PM  

zimbach: Cyberluddite: And wait, isn't it an unconstitutional restriction on one's free speech rights to make their contributions secret so they couldn't prove their support for the candidate?  Why?  This is all about elections, and the most important and cherished component of support in an election--voting--is always done by a secret ballot, and there's nothing unconstitutional about that, nor would we want it any other way.  Why would electoral money have to be public when electoral voting is private?

One could argue that unattributed contributions aren't speech, because reasons... I'm not a lawyer or even on the debate team, but that could be argued if somebody wanted to.


I doubt that would fly, at least under the way the SCOTUS has described the rationale for the "money=speech" thing in the past.  Take a look at the case that started it, Buckley v. Valeo, and you'll see that the reasoning (such as it is) behind it is along the lines "money allows one's favorite candidates to get their message out and get elected" rather than "money allows one to influence a politician."  That's all bullshiat in the real world, of course, but the court could never get away with saying there's a constitutional free speech right to buy a politician.
 
2014-02-24 02:20:03 PM  

ArkPanda: If money is the same as speech and any restriction is unconstitutional, how can there be bribery laws at all?


Well verbal and printed speech has restrictions, so monetary speech could have similar restrictions too if they are narrowly defined.

Although the difference between bribery and a large campaign donation is pretty murky.
 
2014-02-24 02:21:25 PM  
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this would make all campaign contribution caps illegal (although they could rule that way.) From what I understand Shaun McCutcheon is "only" challenging cumulative caps on donations to organizations and candidates, but is explicitly NOT challenging the idea that the FEC can cap how much you can donate to any one political campaign.

In other words, he wants to be able to donate up to the max limit to any candidate, organizing committee, political party, PAC, etc. and not have that count against his ability to fund another campaign elsewhere. Just clarifying what's at stake: effectively there is very little difference since you can already donate to all those separate levels funding the same campaign, but he wants to be able to max out on every campaign available on all levels.
 
2014-02-24 02:22:50 PM  
Cyberluddite: Wall of words.

Could work if communications about timing and amounts of future donations between donors and campaigns were barred, like full on criminalized but lying and check/bank statement document forgery about past donations was expressly permitted.  That way 1m comes in to agency, campaign gets 1m and change a week or so later and world+dog all claims to be the source of the 1m and the campaign has no way to know who the actual donor is.

You are right, would never get passed at the Fed level.  Get it through in some small states first.  Once it works move it on up.
 
2014-02-24 02:22:57 PM  

ArkPanda: If money is the same as speech and any restriction is unconstitutional, how can there be bribery laws at all? There is a constitutional right to communicate with legislators and petition for the redress of grievances, how can there be any difference between petitioning with a letter or a wad of cash?


Because under the law, campaign contributions have to be spent on bona fide campaign expenditures as identified under the law, only some politicians get so much that the money gets stockpiled in so-called "war chests." Now, granted, if they get caught dipping into their slush funds for personal use, they are breaking the law and can even go to jail, and that has happened on some occasions. The problem with capping donations to individual campaigns while allowing unlimited contributions to the parties is that it basically puts our elections in the control of the two large, major parties, and this suits them and party leadership just fine. This, known as "soft money", is why so many people were upset with McCain-Feingold. It was supposed to slow runaway campaign spending down, but instead, made the two major parties even more powerful. The money will still pour in. That's just the way the game is played. It's just a matter of whether the parties or candidates will be controlling it, and neither of those is alone an attractive proposition.
 
2014-02-24 02:23:16 PM  
I know it would never happen - but it would be nice to get rid of the party system completely. (It makes running for President tough, I get that)
 
2014-02-24 02:23:59 PM  

Dr Dreidel: YodaTuna: nmrsnr: Time to amend the ol' Constitution.

Yea good luck with that.

You're telling me we can't find some simple language and get 38 states to call a ConCon?

// considering there are cheerleaders for the "unlimited untracked spending for all!" who make under $30k/year, you're probably right


In today's environment, a ConCon is about the most dangerous thing you could ask for. The derp would flow.
 
2014-02-24 02:26:39 PM  

Nabb1: The problem with capping donations to individual campaigns while allowing unlimited contributions to the parties is that it basically puts our elections in the control of the two large, major parties, and this suits them and party leadership just fine.


Our system itself puts elections in the control of two large, major parties - Duverget's law.  Even with campaign finance reform a SMSP system is going to end up as a two party system.
 
2014-02-24 02:28:39 PM  

p the boiler: I know it would never happen - but it would be nice to get rid of the party system completely. (It makes running for President tough, I get that)


You're never, ever, ever going to get rid of political parties. They are an inevitable consequence of freedom of association.
 
2014-02-24 02:33:16 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: somedude210: Headline says they could do this...what are the odds that they grow a conscious in their decision making?

I'd say about a 55.556% chance.


Yeah, but there's a 90% chance of that.
 
2014-02-24 02:36:16 PM  
Umm, isn't the tea party principally funded by the Oligarchs?
 
2014-02-24 02:38:53 PM  
Replacement?
 
2014-02-24 02:40:50 PM  

Nabb1: The problem with capping donations to individual campaigns while allowing unlimited contributions to the parties is that it basically puts our elections in the control of the two large, major parties, and this suits them and party leadership just fine


Just to clarify: there are caps on party donations, which is part of what this is all about. McCutcheon is a-ok with only being able to give $2,600 to candidates, $32,400 to the national party groups, and $5K-10K to other campaigns (not including SuperPACs which are ostensibly issues organizations and as such have no cap). He is raising a stink over the fact that he can only raise $48,600 for all candidates (in other words, not even 19 candidates if he tries to max them out) and $74,600 for all national party groups (slightly less than 2 1/3 if he tries to max them out). He wants to be able to donate as much as he would like as long as he stays within the individual max donation for each.
 
2014-02-24 02:42:52 PM  

Dr Dreidel: You're telling me we can't find some simple language and get 38 states to call a ConCon?


I went to ConCon once. I was underwhelmed by their cosplay competition.
 
2014-02-24 02:43:28 PM  

GardenWeasel: Dr Dreidel: YodaTuna: nmrsnr: Time to amend the ol' Constitution.

Yea good luck with that.

You're telling me we can't find some simple language and get 38 states to call a ConCon?

// considering there are cheerleaders for the "unlimited untracked spending for all!" who make under $30k/year, you're probably right

In today's environment, a ConCon is about the most dangerous thing you could ask for. The derp would flow.


That's why needing 38 states' assent is the hurdle to clear. If I may, here's my breakdown of modern states:

Derpy:
OK
TX
KY
KS
AL
MS
WI
WV
AK
LA
ID
WY
ND
SD
NC
SC
GA
TN
NM
AZ
NV
AR

Semi-derpy:
FL
OH
PA
NH (though they're more "weird" than derpy)
ME (Anus King? Really?)
VA
UT
NE

Semi-sane:
MN
CO
OR
WA
NJ
NY
MT
IL
IN
IA
MO
MI (I want them to be here; they might be in "sorta derpy" territory, though)

Sane:

SuperLib:
CA
MA
CT
RI
MD (and DC, who wouldn't get a say)
DE
HI
VT

Between Derpy and Sorta Derpy, that's only 30. Can you assemble an amalgamation that, on paper, looks like it'd agree on anything, Amendment-wise?

// now try it for this issue specifically
 
2014-02-24 02:44:17 PM  

Dr Dreidel: ME (Anus King? Really?)


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
 
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