SCOTUS likes corporate campaign cash – like the Big Coal money that has tainted WV

  • Published on January 24th, 2010

When it ruled in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court said it was unlikely that allowing a tsunami of corporate cash to inundate the electoral system would be a problem. Corruption? What Corruption?

“This Court now concludes that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. That speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that those officials are corrupt. And the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.”

They must be the only people on the planet that think Democracy is well-served when big businesses with interests in the outcome of legislation can reap multi-billion-dollar benefits by spending mere millions of dollars to effectively buy off politicians.

And they must have spectacularly short memories. Because this isn’t the first time the issue has come up this year.

Writing at TENTHMIL.com, Johnny Kilroy detailed just how familiar the Supreme Court ought to be with the corrupting effect that can arise:

West Virginia is a state that exemplifies corrupt elections run amok, as our Supreme Court Justices are well aware.  It was just last June that they ruled that West Virginia’s Chief Justice, Brent Benjamin, had acted inappropriately when he had ruled on a case involving Massey Energy after taking almost $250,000 from the company in contributions to his election campaign.

In addition, Massey’s Don Blankenship had spent nearly $3 million dollars in a personal vendetta against Benjamin’s opponent.

…Governor [now Senator] Joe Manchin’s allegiance to the industry is well known. …During his 2004 election… Manchin received $571,214 from the coal industry—over ten times more than any of the runners-up.

West Virginia is a textbook example of how misappropriated power allows industry giants to establish a regional oligarchy.  Is this the example we’re trying to follow with our federal government?

Read the whole thing at TENTHMIL.com.





About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.