Super Bowl-style corporate ads for candidates?

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Banjo, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Banjo


    Always thought it would be great if these dickwads had to wear nascar style suits with the logo patches of all the corps that gave them money, goods and services, patches sized according to value exchanged for votes.
    WASHINGTON – Possibly coming soon to your TV screen: election-season Super Bowl-style ads promoting congressional and presidential candidates, paid for by some of the nation's largest corporations.

    It may happen. For decades, business and union money has been largely shut out of state, congressional and presidential campaigns. The Supreme Court may change that in a big way.

    The court has raised a range of high-stakes possibilities that could let corporations, unions and wealthy individuals pour money into elections in time for this year's congressional races, not to mention the 2012 presidential contest. A ruling is expected as early as Tuesday.

    At one extreme, the justices could give corporations, unions and activist groups funded by wealthy donors virtual free rein to run election-time ads for or against candidates.

    Depending on the details, such a ruling could lay the groundwork for wealthy interests to press their rights further in future cases and argue they should be able to give money directly to presidential and congressional campaigns.

    Going further, the court could strike down state laws banning such donations from campaigns. The justices also could decide that little or no information need be disclosed about such fundraising and spending.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the court could stand by current federal law. It bans unions and incorporated entities such as businesses, trade associations and interest groups from donating to national party committees and congressional and presidential campaigns. It also prohibits, close to elections, the airing of aids that urge voters to support or oppose federal candidates.

    The court also could let similar state laws stand.

    Or it could come down somewhere in between, perhaps giving corporations and unions a freer hand in running election-time ads independent of candidates but requiring the disclosure of related fundraising and spending.

    The case involves a film that criticized then-presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign.

    A conservative group, Citizens United, produced the film and planned to air ads promoting its distribution through cable video-on-demand. The Federal Election Commission said the film amounted to a campaign ad and that Citizens United, an incorporated entity that takes corporate money, could only use limited, disclosed contributions from individuals to promote and broadcast it.
    If the justices decide to undo all or part of the past rulings, they could open a door to corporations to participate directly in elections for the first time since a 1907 law, the Tillman Act, barred such spending.