At the George Mason University campus in Arlington yesterday, Congressman Jim Moran (D-8th) ripped into Koch Industries specifically and the corporate takeover of American politics in general, at a forum/rally against the egregious January 21, 2010 Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That decision, as several speakers – in addition to Moran, speakers included AFL-CIO Legislative Director Bill Samuel, People For The American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker, Public Citizen Government Affairs Lobbyist Craig Holman, and Coffee Party USA Founder Eric Byler – explained, essentially gave corporations the constitutional “right” to spend unlimited money influencing our elections and buying our democracy.
As Marge Baker explained, “Citizens United” was a wild, radical overreach by ultra-conservative Supreme Court judicial activists (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito), throwing out decades of precedent and basically taking on a case that nobody was even arguing. Since that ruling, as Craig Holman detailed in his presentation, corporate spending in our elections has gone through the roof, making a mockery of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Making matters even worse, nobody really knows exactly where much (most?) of this money’s coming from or even how much is being spent, thanks again to the egregious, outrageous Supreme Court ruling of January 2010. Today, we need to do whatever we can to reverse this, including urging President Obama to sign this executive order, “requir[ing] companies that bid for government contracts to disclose their campaign spending, in order to diminish the likelihood that contracts are a payoff for political expenditures.”
By the way, with regard to the Supreme Court, Moran rips its “radical, conservative activists” and specifically their decisions to hand the 2000 election to George W.Bush, as well as its “overturning [of] 200 years of interpretation” on the Second Amendment. Moran particularly rips into Clarence Thomas for being a “consistently radical ideologue for voting in a pro-corporate conservative agenda.” According to Moran, “Citizens United” is “not representative of American values,” as it “turns the constitution upside down.” Finally, Moran stresses the need for electing a president in 2012 who “represents the mainstream of American” and have a Congress that isn’t “totally beholden to the corporate sector.”
P.S. Please see the “flip” for more video as it uploads to YouTube, including questions by 2010 Democratic 10th CD congressional candidate Jeff Barnett and Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola. Also, I’m going to post Eric Byler’s speech in two parts, as soon as it uploads to YouTube.
P.P.S. Among others in the audience yesterday were Del. Bob Brink (D-48th), 49th House of Delegates district candidate Stephanie Clifford, numerous members of the Brigades (formerly the Webb Brigades), and Reston founder Robert E. Simon.
In this video, Jeff Barnett asks how the Supreme Court rationalizes the Citizens United decision. Marge Baker says it “boggles my mind.” Baker adds that she believes the Court was “surprised” at the negative reaction, but in the end, they “did it because they could.” Barbara Favola said she’s trying to “get back to a good government model” and advocates “equal time” (e.g., the “fairness doctrine”). Craig Holman finds it remarkable that “we could not get a single Republican in the Senate to vote for the DISCLOSE Act in the last session.”