The Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United unleashed the potential for a large increase in political advertising. Saturday 9/18/10, President Obama used his weekly radio address to attack Republicans for blocking efforts by Democrats in Congress to add a few speed bumps in front of corporate and union political spending.
“We can see for ourselves how destructive to our democracy this can become,” he said. “We see it in the flood of deceptive attack ads sponsored by special interests using front groups with misleading names. We don’t know who’s behind these ads or who’s paying for them. Even foreign-controlled corporations seeking to influence our democracy are able to spend freely in order to swing an election toward a candidate they prefer.”
Obama continued, “We’ve tried to fix this with a new law – one that would simply require that you say who you are and who’s paying for your ad. This way, voters are able to make an informed judgment about a group’s motivations. Anyone running these ads would have to stand by their claims. And foreign-controlled corporations would be restricted from spending money to influence elections, just as they were before the Supreme Court opened up this loophole.”
He called the Republican roadblock a “power grab,” saying, “Now, the special interests want to take Congress back, and return to the days when lobbyists wrote the laws. And a partisan minority in Congress is hoping their defense of these special interests and the status quo will be rewarded with a flood of negative ads against their opponents. It’s a power grab, pure and simple.”
Obama acknowledged that any action that came at this point in the legislative season would be far too late to have any impact on the 2010 midterms.
RBR-TVBR observation: Even if the Democrats had managed to put some restrictions on the spending Citizens United opened up, it most likely would have headed straight back to court system. That’s been the case for McCain-Feingold – constant battering from piecemeal lawsuits – and there’s no reason to think it’d be any different for a Citizens United bandage bill.