In January of 2010, the Supreme Court handed down it's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which held that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited due to their First Amendment rights. President Obama mentioned this in is State of the Union address.
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections.
"Not true," mouthed Justice Alito as he shook his head. And yet between January and November of 2010, SuperPACs raised a total of $63 million to spend on the midterm elections.
Stephen Colbert was in the news yesterday as he attended a meeting at the Federal Election Commission where he learned he would be granted permission to form his Colbert SuperPAC called Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Check out the FEC draft advisory opinions 11-38, 11-38A and 11-38B. They are relatively short PDF files. It's interesting to see how election law works in this instance. What's really funny is that some of the stuff he's done as part of his character on the show is used as support for the seriousness of forming a Super PAC. Taking advantage of the Citizens United v. FEC ruling, Colbert--just like the other 113 other currently existing Super PACs--will be able to raise as much money as he wants for independent expenditures. I expect he'll be true to form and make a public showing to America of a corrupting influence on our elections.
Here's his masterful skewering of the press at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner.
It's good to be able to laugh at ourselves. I'm sure history will tell just how hilarious it was.