In the news

NJPIRG Law and Policy Center
|
NewJerseyNewsroom.com
By
Andy Lagomarsino

"Today's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission will significantly expand the role that the most powerful corporations play in election financing,'' said Rebecca Alper, Program Associate for the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group.

In a shocking burst of judicial activism, the Supreme Court decided that corporations should be treated in the same manner as ordinary citizens and be allowed to spend the massive amounts of money they accumulate on direct attack ads for or against members of Congress.

"This egregious decision turns back the clock on over 60 years of precedent," continued Alper.

"A corporation is not, nor has it ever been, a person with voting rights. Corporations are not your neighbors, they cannot get married, they cannot die, and a corporation is not part of We the People," she added. "It is essential that we fix this misstep by the courts, before we see the landscape of elections financing washed away in a raging flashflood of corporate money.

"Lifting the ban on corporate money could further diminish the public voice in a system that already favors monied special interests, and will certainly lessen the public trust in our officials.

NJPIRG is working in concert with the White House and Senate and House Leadership to help move a legislative fix to slam shut the floodgates that today's decision has opened.

Also, Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8) lashed out at the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision, saying that the high court's ruling strikes at the heart of reforms aimed at keeping special interests out of elections.

The decision reversed a 20-year-old prohibition on corporations and unions from purchasing political advertisements in the final days of a campaign.

"This decision is a mistake, and a dagger in the heart of our attempts to seek cleaner elections," said Pascrell, who was a cosponsor of and voted for the McCain-Feingold Act. Elements of that historic law were overturned by today's Supreme Court's ruling today. "There is nothing more sacrosanct in American democracy than maintaining the integrity of our elections. It is a shame that our nation's highest court would present such a challenge to keeping special interests and corporate agendas from drowning out the voice of the people."

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