Enjoying all of those endless, anonymously paid for, bullshit political campaign ads this season? You can thank Karl Rove for them. He thinks they’re fucking hilarious. You are his chew toy while he’s taking a dump all over your “democracy.” You may have known that for a while, but did I mention it’s way worse than you think?
If you follow politics—and at this point who’d blame you if you wanted to do anything but—you know that in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court gutted much of what was left of our campaign finance laws with its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. As a 5-to-4 majority, the right-wing Supreme Corporatists gave the green light to corporations to spend as much money as they want on electioneering.
Spending money on elections is a free speech matter, they said. And since corporations are “people”—thanks to Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions— they have the “right” to spend as much as they want in favor of, or against, anybody they choose.
If you don’t like it, you can spend as much as you want to in response. Of course, you probably don’t have as much money— I mean, free speech—to spare as Walmart or Exxon or Monsanto or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but good luck with your campaign advocacy!
There are limits, however. Sort of. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA), for example, is still in place. Theoretically. It requires outside organizations that conduct election advocacy to file as political committees with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and to disclose their donors.
That disclosure, the right-wingers on the Court pretended to believe, would keep everyone honest. Corporations and billionaires wouldn’t want to be exposed as spending millions to support complete jackasses for office. That would be bad for business, after all.