Writing for the majority in the Citizens United v. FEC case, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy stated: “The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”
I wonder what the learned justice would have to say about this story today from Politico:
As if voters weren’t mad enough at Washington, the Supreme Court apparently has given them one more reason to fume. According to a bipartisan poll released Monday, voters oppose by a 2-to-1 ratio the court’s ruling in Federal Election Commission v. Citizens United that cleared the way for corporations and unions to run political advertising…
Asked if special interests have too much influence, 74 percent of respondents said yes. Asked if members of Congress are “controlled by” the groups and people who finance their political campaigns, a whopping 79 percent said yes.
Justice Kennedy, for the majority, also stated: “Ingratiation and access, in any event, are not corruption.”
A campaign finance expert in town, who asked to remain unidentified, said of that:
“That means (a) you have a First Amendment right to suck up to your Congressman – which would seem to make the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act’s prohibition on gifts from lobbyists unconstitutional and (b) Members have a constitutional right to sell access to themselves, i.e., charge you for a meeting with them (which, in real life has long been the practice – come to my fundraiser and tell me what you’re working on . . . .).
“I don’t think people understand how radical the decision in Citizens United really is – its essentially a frontal assault on all attempts to prohibit political corruption invoking the principal of Free Speech.”