Unionists Protest Money in Politics as Justice Ponder

WASHINGTON—Unionists, led by the Communications Workers, blasted the overwhelming influence of corporate and Right Wing money in politics in a demonstration outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 8, as the justices within heard arguments on a case that would open the money floodgates even wider.

And the unionists’ point may fall on deaf judicial ears, at least among the court’s 5-man GOP-nominated majority.  Those justices seemed to believe, during the oral arguments in McCutcheon and the RNC vs. FEC, in letting megadonors give even more money than they do now to parties and candidates as a group.

That wasn’t the view of the unionists outside on the court’s steps, led by Communications Workers President Larry Cohen.

“McCutcheon now threatens to make a bad situation a whole lot worse,” CWA explained before the rally.  Big money has already infiltrated our elections.  In its 2010 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court initiated corporate America’s takeover of American politics by allowing businesses and their millionaire executives to dump an unlimited amount of money into campaigns through Super PACs.

“The 2012 elections cost a whopping $7 billion thanks to the subsequent fundraising arms race,” CWA added.  But attorneys for McCutcheon pointed out that 83% of that sum went to the parties, candidates and their committees anyway.   McCutcheon is an Alabama GOP bigwig who wants to be able to give an unlimited number of  $2,600-each checks to parties and candidates.
“Right now there’s a little distance between big money and the candidates themselves.  But if McCutcheon wins, this wealthy businessman could soon be depositing multimillion-dollar checks right into candidates’ bank accounts,” CWA added.

“So many Americans feel like many of their elected officials aren’t looking out for them.  If the Supreme Court sides with McCutcheon, elections will get more expensive.

“How do we expect elected officials to know the real issues and problems of working Americans, if they’re spending all their time with the top 1%?  They can’t.  Big money’s influence will grow, as the political voices of workers get drowned out.”

Inside the court, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the 5-man majority that opened the financial spigot with Citizens United, suggested letting big givers funnel more money to parties and candidates might actually solve some of the problems of big-donor financing of independent campaign committees.  “I’m not sure that” funding such SuperPACs and independent spending is “a benefit to our political system,” Scalia said.

-PAI