… we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization that Teddy Roosevelt had: that we have to have a limit on the flow of money and that corporations are not people …Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
McCain is starting to resemble his reformer self again. He slams the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision every chance he gets. He has teamed up with Democrats to demand a rethinking of Citizens United and to craft a new bill that would beef up disclosure of campaign donations and political ads. “He is starting to exert himself, which he had not been doing over the past couple years,” says Craig Holman, the top lobbyist for Public Citizen.
McCain’s criticisms of the Supreme Court’s five conservative justices and their ruling in Citizens United—which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited treasury money on so-called independent expenditures—has been fierce. He caused a stir in January when he veered off script during a Mitt Romney campaign press call and launched into a tirade against super-PACs and the state of the political money wars. “I think the outside super-PACs and others [are] so disgraceful that I’m ashamed of the United States Supreme Court in their decision on [CitizensUnited],” he said. “I predict to you there will be a major scandal associated with the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United.”
McCain has since doubled down on his prediction: “I promise you, there will be huge scandals, because there’s too much money washing around, too much of it we don’t know who’s behind it, and too much corruption associated with that kind of money. There will be major scandals.”
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Republican leader of the Senate, and in all likelihood, the next Senate Majority Leader, thinks corporations deserve the right to spend limitless amounts in American elections. He was the point person in Congress fighting campaign reforms in the late 90s, and now, he’s begging the Supreme Court not to reverse its Citizens United ruling. In fact, he just petitioned the court. His argument, that corporations deserve political rights akin to regular Americans because they rarely exercise that right, is laughable. […]
In reality, corporations have aggressively taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling (and related rulings, such as FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life) to spend millions in attack ads and other electioneering efforts to influence elections. They have done so, however, largely through 501(c) organizations that do not have to disclose their donors. Although the media is obsessed with the idea of Super PACs, 501(c) groups actually spend more money and have had a far greater impact on competitive general elections. Most corporations do not want the bad publicity associated with directly influencing a campaign with shareholder money — so they spend through undisclosed 501(c) groups.
Here’s what McConnell cleverly chose to ignore in his brief, which only analyzed segmented Super PAC spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce dwarfed all other outside spending groups in 2010 by using its 100%-corporate funded budget to run television and radio ads to support big business candidates for Congress. The Chamber, a 501(c)(6) tax exempt entity, refused to disclose a single penny of its spending efforts. Similarly, other corporate-funded groups sprung to action in the wake of the court’s decision. The American Chemistry Council, a lobby funded by chemical corporations like DuPont and Dow Chemical, began airing election ads for candidates for the first time in 2010, and is now airing an aggressive multimillion dollar campaign ad effort for this election cycle. The NRA, funded in part by gun companies, followed suit as well. The Chemistry Council and NRA are both 501(c) groups.
The evidence McConnell submitted to the court is completely arbitrary. The true big spenders are 501(c) groups like the 60 Plus Association, American Future Fund, Americans for Job Security, etc. These groups could be funded by Fortune 100 companies; they could be funded by individuals. But we have no idea, so the numbers McConnell uses in his brief are meaningless.
As the Hill recently explained in a story on how John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman were pushing for a resolution basically promising to make war with Iran, “Graham, Lieberman and McCain are considered some of the top foreign policy experts in the upper chamber,” because they always, invariably support military intervention everywhere for any reason, and that is invariably considered a sign of “seriousness” in Washington. If you don’t like waging wars everywhere, forever, you are a weird kooky hippie, and everyone laughs at you. If you believe that bombs and troops have the power to magically solve all problems, you are invited on all the Sunday shows every week to offer your sober analysis of the foreign situation.
Sadly, Joe Lieberman will be leaving the U.S. Senate soon, which means John McCain and Lindsey Graham will need to find a new fake-Democrat best friend to add a patina of “bipartisanship” to their endless demands for explosions and shooting and death.Alex Pareene
When John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman join forces, you can be sure of one thing: It will involve state-sponsored violence.Alex Pareene
Later today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services, will become the first U.S. senator to publicly call for U.S. led air strikes to halt the violence and atrocities being committed by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“After a year of bloodshed, the crisis in Syria has reached a decisive moment,” McCain will say Monday afternoon in a speech on the Senate floor, according to excerpts obtained in advance by The Cable.
“What opposition groups in Syria need most urgently is relief from Assad’s tank and artillery sieges in many cities that are still contested. Homs is lost for now, but Idlib, and Hama, and Qusayr, and Deraa, and other cities in Syria could still be saved,” McCain will say. “But time is running out. Assad’s forces are on the march. Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower.”