Today, the Supreme Court issued a shocking decision that LCV's Gene Karpinski says will "open the floodgates" to corporate money in elections. In short, the court struck down decades-old campaign finance laws that bar corporations from spending unlimited sums directly advocating for or against candidates for elected office.
Across the board, smart observers of American politics know exactly what that means: unlimited sums of money from massive corporations like ExxonMobil spent attacking candidates who will stand up for things that corporations don't like. Just picture 60 seconds of campaign-style smear against your favorite clean energy candidate, with the closing line: "This ad paid for by ExxonMobil."
From a Washington Post analysis of the decision:
It's hard to overestimate the impact that the Supreme Court's reversal of a two-decade-old ban on corporate independent expenditures in campaigns will have on the political landscape in 2010 and beyond...The sad bottom line came from Justice John Paul Stevens, who attacked the court's majority decision aloud in court today:
"This is a sweeping decision, period," said Marc Elias, a Democratic election lawyer. "In one opinion the Court struck down all limits on independent expenditures directly from corporations."
Jason Torchinsky, a Republican election lawyer, predicted that the Court's ruling will "unleash millions of dollars in independent expenditures from corporations, non-profits and unions in federal and state races"...
Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting from the main holding, said, "The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."Having felt the full brunt of Big Oil's decades-long effort to undermine the legislative process, those of us here at LCV will be redoubling our efforts to defend clean energy champions from what we anticipate will be its efforts to do the same thing to our elections.