New polling released yesterday by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (for Democracy Corps) and Public Campaign Action Fund shows that concern over the influence of money-in-politics is one of the few areas with the power to breakthrough the otherwise divisive national conversation in top battleground districts.
Recent U.S. Supreme Court cases have left our campaign finance system in need of repair. The court opened the floodgates to corporate money in Citizens United v. FEC, and is currently considering overturning the aggregate contribution limits in McCutcheon v. FEC.
This week Senator Joe Tester of Montana introduced a proposal for a constitutional amendment to restrict corporate campaign spending. Last year over 75 percent of Montanans voted to pass a ballot measure urging their congressional delegation to support such a move. Tester's bill is just one of several that seek to restrict spending on campaign in the aftermath of recent court decisions weakening prior laws.
On Thursday, a federal appeals court in Iowa upheld key provisions of the state's campaign finance law. While the new ruling restricts the reporting requirements for organizations whose activity is not primarily political, it preserved bans on corporate donations. These statutes in particular are crucial for protecting the integrity of elections and empowering voters.
Justice Scalia was really being Justice Scalia yesterday at oral arguments for the challenge to Section 5: he called it "perpetuation of a racial entitlement" that Congress would never overturn because the name of the bill sounded nice. Sotomayor fired back to the lawyer: "Do you think the right to vote is a racial entitlement in Section 5?"
The chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), should “hold hearings early in the 113th Congress on the Citizens United decision to examine potential legislative solutions to a system out of control, including consideration of disclosure reforms,” according to a letter sent by Public Campaign and 10 good government organizations today.
The Economic Policy Institute’s Jeff Faux has an article in this month’s American Prospect entitled, “Who will save the middle class?”
He writes that the “American middle class is headed for a further fall in its living standards, and the probability that the country’s two-party governing class will change course is close to zero.”
There are several reasons for this, but he cites one that will be familiar to readers of this blog: our big money political system.