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Corporate campaign donations, free speech?


                                                      (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON DC - President Obama during his 'State of the Union' speach scornfully remarked about a recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision regarding campaign financial contributions from corporations.  The Supreme Court in making this decision cited that freedom of speech under the Constitution, includes a corporation's right to donate to political campaigns.

This has become quite a controversial decision.  One which the President and his administration, as well as most on the left, obviously disagree with.  However, it should be noted that the Supreme Court decision is accurate.  It is agreeable to see that at least one branch of the federal government continues to stand up for the constitution.

Just as any American citizen has a right to free speech, and the liberty to contribute to political candidates with whom they agree, any legal corporate entity has these same liberties under the constitution.  While many Americans may not like the seemingly endless stream of political advertisements during elections, they are not forced to watch (or listen to) such advertisements just because they happen to air during a popular show.  This is especially true given today's DVR technology, whereby programs can be recorded, and advertisements skipped during playback.

All rights under the constitution must be protected, and this is the purpose for the Supreme Court.  Historically, any government which becomes comfortable in legislating away the rights and/or liberties of any specific group of citizens or entities, will find it easier to expand that group to fit the goals at the time.  Additionally, as with freedom of speech of individuals, just because one disagrees with what someone says or how they go about saying it, does not mean their right to do so should be eliminated.

This topic also touches upon a related subject, which is career politicians and lobbyists "buying their vote".  The US government was originally designed to be a government of the people, by the people, for the people.  Career politicians are one major problem, as our representatives are supposed to be common people like anyone else, who do not make a career out of it.  This helps to ensure that those who are charged with representing the people of a given district, will do exactly that and not sell their vote to the highest bidder.  Congressional term limits, as well as reforming the rules by which lobbyists are governed, would go much farther to ensure a level playing field, than would legislating away a corporation's right to donate to a particular candidate.

Comments are welcomed.

Comments

  • David Toney 4 years ago

    A corporation should not have the same free speech rights as an individual because when it buys a political ad it is voicing the opinion of the board of directors and not letting the stockholders express their opinion as to how the money should be spent. Also, suppose china buys an american corporation. Can that corporation then buy political ads supporting china s interests

  • Zman 4 years ago

    Just another way special interest can purchase America under our noses. There will be a hostile business takeover one day and the Brits, Russia or China will own more of the US then the US. Then the majority stock/shareholders will want to rule. It seems that corruption, not doing what is right, drives our hisghest courts now. Thank you Supreme Court Judge Walmart for your deep pocket interests

  • JRambo 4 years ago

    Although legally the ruling may be "correct" it is not right. Corporations are simply not people. They are entities that have been given the rights of people. However, how can we stop harm caused by them? We can't impose prison time, or the death penalty. We can only fine them and hold their people accountable (in some cases.) If a corporation kills people and no individual in the corporation is responsible, then what? Say 100 people each knew a small part about a particular pollution that killed people, but none of them really had the big picture. Say 1000 people died. Who would go to prison if the 100 people in the corporation really didn't know enough?

    My take is that Obama was asking for an amendment to overturn the ruling, which is the right thing to do. I'm all for eliminating private funding for elections. Lets go to a national system. That way, a third party stands a chance. Venture 2012!

    The bottom line is that corporations are not people, period.

  • James Covington 4 years ago

    In response to Jrambo: You make an excellent point. However, my article was strictly to point out that congress does not have the right to countermand the constitution on its own. A well written amendment would do well to fix such problems, but must be ratified by 2/3 of the States. For congress to do so on its own is unconstitutional, and this was the correctness in their ruling.

    Zman: You know as well as I do that they were still making contributions. Legal, it can be better regulated. Illegalizing it just creates a "black market" for it.

    Mr. Toney: I'm referring to American owned companies, as of course a foreign owned company should not have the same rights. However as stated above, they make such contributions anyway.

    Thanks for your comments!

  • John Pruett 4 years ago

    Agreed, legislation to limit terms and access of lobbyists would be good, but it is far too late for that. I would be amazed if we ever regain control of our country, we the people that is.

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