Maryann Tobin

The Supreme Court refused on Monday to consider a Montana challenge to the 2010 Citizens United decision, which claimed that unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns promoted corruption.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court because Citizens United conflicted with a hundred-year old Montana law that imposed strict spending limits on campaign contributions due to a history of problems with corporate money, corruption, and elections.

However, the Supreme Court turned a blind eye to claims of the corrupting influence of money in politics as a result of their Citizens United decision.

The Montana decision is consistent with the reasoning of the original Citizens United ruling that classified corporate entities as human beings/people entitled to the same rights as individual men and women. It also declared that unlimited campaign contributions would “not give rise for corruption or the appearance of corruption,” as noted by the Wall Street Journal.

But critics of Citizens United, including Republican Senator John McCain, say the new law does in fact promote political corruption, as evidenced by the flood of Super PAC money from secret donors, both foreign and domestic.

“The appearance of corruption is in the eyes of the people, not the justices, and polls find opposition to Citizens United and diminished faith in the electoral process,” according to the Huffington Post.

Mother Jones further questions the basis for the decision. “In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that the only justification for limiting campaign expenditures was "corruption or the appearance of corruption." And since independent expenditures, including those from corporations and unions, don't have any kind of corrupting influence, there's no justification for limiting them.”

If you translate that portion of the Supreme Court argument into real world terms, it means that people like Sheldon Adelson, who recently gave $10 million to the Romney campaign, will not attempt to influence legislation of there is a Romney Administration. And big money supporters like the Koch brothers, will also expect nothing in return for their generous campaign contributions.

The 5-4 Citizens United was decided along party lines with all five of the votes that pushed the law over the top coming from the conservative Justices.

It has been suggested by many that the enormous amounts of money Citizens United has allowed into play for the 2012 elections can profoundly influence the outcome. And none of the most aggressive contributors are famous for their history of public cause philanthropy.

As far as the Montana decision is concerned, there may be an embarrassment factor for the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the Montana corruption case, they might have had to acknowledge what appears to be an unprecedented amount of attempted corruption in 2012 elections. And doing so might also force them to admit publicly that the Citizens United decision was a mistake.


What Republicans want and what they can get with Citizens United

The hidden dangers of the 2012 Republican Party and Citizens United

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