01.31.2010 0

ALG in the News: Impact of campaign finance ruling mixed in Connecticut

  • On: 02/02/2010 09:21:38
  • In: First Amendment

  • ALG Editor’s Note: In the following featured article from the Connecticut Post, Bill Cumming quotes ALG President Bill Wilson on the results of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on campaign finance.


    Impact of campaign finance ruling mixed in Connecticut

    By Bill Cummings, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday washed away decades of restrictions on how much corporations and special interests could spend on political campaigns, but the landmark ruling is not expected to have an immediate impact on Connecticut’s election law.

    In a divided 5-4 decision, the court said free speech provisions overruled federal law limiting the amount corporations and unions could spend to promote a particular candidate. The ruling does not alter limits on individual contributions to candidates.

    The ruling will likely flood federal Senate and Houseraces across the country with a gusher of special interest money, including the Connecticut campaign to replace retiring Sen. Chris Dodd. The result could be a barrage of television and radio ads from corporations and others now free from spending limits, and an increase in attacks like the infamous “Swift Boat” ads launched against former presidential candidate John Kerry.

    Still, state races in Connecticut, including the ongoing run for governor, are expected to feel little impact because state law already allows unlimited spending by corporations, unions and special interests outside the traditional individual contribution system.

    “With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” President Barack Obama said.

    “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” Obama said.

    Dodd called the ruling a “terrible day for American Democracy. With this 5-4 decision, a deeply divided Supreme Court has essentially given corporations free rein to drown out the voices of the American people, rejecting the sacred democratic principle of `one person, one vote.’ “

    But not everyone was upset with the court’s ruling.

    “This is a major step in overturning arcane, gargantuan censorship boards, laws and regulations that tie up our electoral process in red tape, restrict speech and favor incumbents,” said Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government.

    Continue reading here.

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