Three years ago, the current court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in the Citizens United case that "independent" spending on election races was protected free speech and struck down long-standing bans on such spending by corporations and unions.
But until now, the court's conservatives have not joined together to strike down the Watergate-era limits on how much donors can give directly to candidates or party committees.
That has left the law in an odd posture. Wealthy people who want to influence campaign races can give millions of dollars to "super PACs" and other groups that pay for "independent" election ads, but they are barred by law from giving more than $48,600 total to all members of Congress or more than $74,600 to various party committees.
That may be about to change. On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court will take up an appeal from the Republican National Committee, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon, who say contributions should be treated as "core political speech." If they win, wealthy Republicans or Democrats could each give as much as $3.6 million total by giving the maximum amount to all of their party committees and candidates. This money could be funneled by party leaders into a close race or races, tipping the balance of power in Congress.
Defenders of the election laws have been sounding the alarm. "It would be terrible for our democracy … if one politician could directly solicit $3.6 million from a single donor," said Lawrence Norden, an election law expert with the Brennan Center, a liberal legal advocacy group in New York. "That is 70 times the median income for an American family. It would mean a tiny, tiny group of donors would wield unprecedented power and influence."
I'm not surprised to find Mitch the Turtle in the thick of this. He has long been the most corrupt Senator in Washington, enriching himself by millions of dollars since coming into office. And here's the best part: If Mitch gets his way 100%, not only could the super-rich buy candidates and races, but they could do so anonymously.
This case could pretty much finish off our democracy heading into 2014 and especially 2016. Being able to plunk down millions to give directly to a candidate would change the face of politics in America forever, ensuring the Golden Rule: whoever has the most gold, makes the rules.
If you thought Congress was massively corrupt now, wait until the 0.01% can say "I'll give you millions to vote against the poor and middle class, and once you get in I'll keep you there for life." Oh...and remember, far more of these super donors lean towards the right, not the left.
Just what we need, more Tea Party goons bought and paid for by the ultra-rich with the sole intent of destroying what's left of the 99%'s wealth. America, America, God shed His grace on thee...