Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
One year ago today, the US Supreme Court blew the doors off campaign finance reform with their decision on the landmark Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission.
The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that limiting campaign contributions from corporations limits their freedom of speech. This decision is based upon the legal precedent of corporate personhood, which gives corporations the same rights as “natural persons” (AKA real people). This ruling permitted corporations and unions to directly fund campaign advertising, a practice that had been restricted; it also cleared the way for the creation of secret campaign financing groups, which poured billions into the 2010 midterm election.
The watchdog group Common Cause is now raising the question of conflict of interest in this case. Two of the court’s most conservative justices– Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, who voted in favor of Citizens United– have been linked to Charles and David Koch, conservative billionaires who push right-wing causes with their contributions and benefited from the Citizens United ruling.
At issue is the justices attendance at soirees hosted by the Kochs. Common Cause has asked the Justice Department to investigate the connection and has asked for a re-trial if conflict of interest is found.
[tnivideo caption=”On Anniversary of Citizens United Ruling, Common Cause Calls for Investigation of Scalia and Thomas” credit=”Democracy Now”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQshJWT3wj4[/tnivideo]
For more details, check out this story in the LA Times…
2 Supreme Court judges had conflict of interest in campaign finance case, group says