Moral Low Ground

Economy

‘The Moral High Ground’: John McCain Slams ‘Citizens United’ Ruling as “One of the Worst Decisions I Have Ever Seen”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), that longtime champion of campaign finance reform, has slammed a highly controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled that corporations are people, money is free speech and therefore corporations are entitled to spend as much money as they please influencing the outcome of American elections.

That 5-4 decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, is one of the most odious ever arrived at by the highest court in the land. It stopped short of allowing corporations to donate directly to political parties or candidates, something that has been banned under the Tillman Act for more than a century. But the ruling permits unlimited independent contributions through super-PACs, political action committees on steroids that have spent millions upon millions of dollars on campaign ads in the 2010 midterm elections and are primed to set spending records in the upcoming 2012 elections.

The ruling effectively destroyed parts of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, rightfully touted by the senator as a way of curtailing the influence of corporate money in U.S. elections.

The chilling effect this could have should be immediately obvious. Lawmakers will no longer be primarily concerned with serving their constituents, but rather the monied special interests who could unleash a torrent of attack ads if their bidding is not done. Declaring corporations to be people endowed with free speech rights but unfettered by the responsibilities that accompany those rights also opens the door to all sorts of abuses. Plus, the voices of ordinary Americans like you and I have been drowned out by the screaming of corporate cash.

Speaking to CBS News, Sen. McCain, the unsuccessful 2008 Republican presidential candidate, called Citizens United “one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen.”

Citizens United — you can put the responsibility right at the doorstep of the Supreme Court, incredible naivety, ignorance of the real world of politics … it was outrageous, it was outrageous,” he said.

“I predict to you that there will be huge scandals associated with this huge flood of money,” he added.

McCain recently endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP nomination race, even though Romney infamously declared that “corporations are people” and then defended his ludicrous assertion. Romney also has considerable support from super-PACs

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