Friday was the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision “Citizens United v Federal Election Commission.” This was the case that let you know that the Supreme Court had now fully aligned with the corporate masters that control the rest of our government. Most of you know the issues involved in this landmark case, for those of you who do not, shame on you. What sparked me to write again about this matter was an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (you know them, the intellectual branch of Fox News – or to put is another way, Fox News for folks that still have some functioning gray matter) this past Friday. Author Joel Gora stated:
Although the decision has been vilified, the court's evenhanded principle protects the free-speech rights of business corporations, nonprofit organizations, labor unions, media outlets and the myriad groups that people form and use to press their views and amplify their voices, especially on public issues.
I would remind Mr. Cora that business corporations are state mandated animals (not federal) whose primary function as a separate legal entity (NOT a person), is to limit personal liability for the owners and whose primary business goal is profit. A corporation’s objective is not to “press their views and amplify their voices, especially on public issues” – their goal as businesses is to make money. As such these “myriad groups that people form” are not just random organizations but organizations with very specific goals and desires that would generally not fit with the more broad based concerns of an average citizen.
Citizens United Corporation is a 501c4 non-profit (donations are not tax deductible) funded by (mostly) wealthy individuals whose sole intent in this matter was to harpoon the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The folks who fund Citizens United have every right to do this, and should have every right, they are in fact a “group that people form and use to press their views and amplify their voices, especially on public issues” – clearly business entities are not. The problem is that the Supreme Court expanded the scope of this case and brought in all legal entities into consideration. It is hard not to see the hand of the corporate influence in the unnecessary expansion of this decision (Justice Stevens' referred to the court having an "agenda" in his dissenting opinion).
In this case the Supreme Court argued:
In the free society ordained by our Constitution, it is not the government but the people—individually as citizens and candidates and collectively as associations and political committees—who must retain control over the quantity and range of debate on public issues in a political campaign.
Most of us would agree with this statement, the problem is that a private, limited liability business entity such as corporations, whose primary goal is profit, in no way, shape, manner or form can be considered under the heading neutral rubric “collectively as associations.”