Killing McCain-Feingold for Good

from mother jones — At this time during the last presidential campaign, the Republican Party’s campaign finance law opponents were in something of a pickle. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was their nominee; the tough law banning so-called soft money bore his name; and so, during the 2008 election, the GOP platform couldn’t take a rhetorical buzzsaw to the laws curbing the flow of campaign cash into elections.

There’s no such problem for Republicans at the 2012 GOP convention. James Bopp, Jr., an influential lawyer who’s made a career out of demolishing campaign finance laws, said in a recent interview with the Indianapolis Star that the GOP’s 2012 platform will call for gutting what’s left of the McCain-Feingold law—namely, the ban on unlimited, unregulated, soft money given to political parties.

The platform, Bopp suggests, will read like a wish list for haters of campaign finance restriction:

Four years ago, he watched with distaste as his party nominated Sen. John McCain as its presidential nominee. With McCain leading the ticket, Bopp said, “we couldn’t write in (the platform) that we opposed McCain-Feingold. And we sure as hell couldn’t endorse it, so we didn’t say anything about campaign finance.”

This time, he said, the platform calls for the repeal of the last vestiges of the McCain-Feingold law and opposes passage of the so-called “Disclose Act” in Congress. It would require advocacy groups making more than $10,000 in campaign-related expenditures to disclose contributors who had donated more than $10,000.

GOP Platform Calls for Nuking What’s Left of McCain-Feingold Law | Mother Jones (Aug 28, 2012) – http://bit.ly/Ppz45v

Campaign Coordination

Stephen Colbert shows what’s wrong with the idea that SuperPACs don’t/can’t coordinate with the candidates, in a legal discussion with John McCain advisor, Trevor Potter:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Trevor Potter (John McCain 2000, 2008 advisor)

We’ve changed the game from what really are small donors, either over the Internet or a couple hundred dollars, to a world where one person or a handful of people can bankroll a presidential candidate.

Trevor Potter, former member of the Federal Elections Commission, general counsel to John McCain for President, 2000, 2008, interviewed on NPR’s FRESH AIR program, with Terry Gross. Listen to the audio and read the full transcription, here.  An excerpt is below:

GROSS: So you were an advisor to John McCain’s campaign in 2000 and 2008. You served on the Federal Elections Commission. What can candidates do now when raising money that they weren’t allowed to do before, that they weren’t allowed to do under McCain-Feingold?

POTTER: We’re really in a different world. Part of it involves candidates raising money, but most of it involves these new so-called superPACs. Throughout the – almost all of my career, until this year, what candidates could do was raise a small amount of money from each individual donor, it used to be $1,000, and then under McCain-Feingold it became $2,000 and was inflation-adjusted, so it’s 2,500. But that’s still a very small amount of money that an individual can give to a candidate.

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What is “Citizens United”?

On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court (in a case called Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) ruled that the First Amendment gives corporations a right to spend unlimited amounts of money trying to influence elections.

Overnight, bedrock principles like “one person, one vote” and “government of, by and for the people” were undermined.

Now, our democracy is at grave risk of becoming nothing more than an auction-one in which the We the People will always be outbid.

Corporations are not people. They do not breathe or eat or sleep. They do not dance or fall in love or raise children. They do not go bowling or fight in wars or get cancer. They do not vote. Yet now they threaten to trample democracy by claiming constitutional protections that were intended only for actual people.

U.S Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), succinctly expressing what millions of Americans — from people in your community to President Barack Obama — are thinking, called Citizens United “one of the worst decisions I have ever seen.”

The ruling must be overturned, and a constitutional amendment is the best way to do that.

–from “Democracy is for People

“Take the Money and Run for Office” (This American Life)

Did you catch This American Life this past weekend?  Worth a listen!  Whole Audio at this link, segment audio in the linked titles below. Take a look at the descriptions of the different stories:

TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN FOR OFFICE* * *

Originally aired 03.30.2012
For anyone who has ever heard the term “Washington insider” and felt outside — we are with you. So this week, we go inside the rooms where the deals get made, to the actual moment that the checks change hands — and we ask the people writing and receiving the checks what, exactly, is the money buying?
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US Senator John McCain (AZ, Republican)

Republican US Sen. John McCain“What the Supreme Court did [in the Citizens United vs. FEC decision] is a

combination of arrogance, naivete and stupidity

the likes of which I have never seen… I promise you,

there will be huge scandals

because there’s too much money washing around,

too much of it we don’t know who’s behind it and

too much corruption associated with that kind of money.

There will be major scandals.”

—John McCain, qtd. by Reuters