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Grassroots Group: McCutcheon Decision “Legalized Bribery”

PHOTO: Grassroots groups say the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC is a step backward in removing the influence of huge sums of money on politics. Photo courtesy United Wisconsin.
PHOTO: Grassroots groups say the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC is a step backward in removing the influence of huge sums of money on politics. Photo courtesy United Wisconsin.
April 3, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down aggregate limits on individual contributions to federal candidates, political parties and political action committees, saying existing limits are a violation of free speech.

Lisa Subeck, executive director of the grassroots political group United Wisconsin, calls the court's 5-to-4 decision a complete violation of the public trust.

And she says it takes the nation another step closer to, as she puts it, legalizing bribery in politics.

"Citizens believe one citizen, one individual, one vote,” Subeck stresses. “And essentially, what a decision like McCutcheon, particularly coupled with the Citizens United decision of 2010 does is, it gives an unlimited amount of power to those with the most money to purchase it."

The Citizens United decision, which in essence said corporations are people, is supported by those who believe that political contributions are a form of free speech, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

"It does not permit one more dime to be given to an individual candidate or a party,” McConnell said. “It just respects the Constitutional rights of individuals to decide how many to support."

Richard Beliles, chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky, says since the Citizens United case in 2010, big corporations are now spending 26 times as much as they were before.

Beliles calls that very depressing.

"I mean these legislators, they're smart,” he stresses. “They can see where the money comes from – who's going to contribute to them. Who's going to wine and dine them."

Subeck of United Wisconsin adds campaign finance limits provide a crucial safeguard against corruption in the political system.

She says there is a growing bipartisan grassroots movement committed to overturning the Citizens United ruling.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY