February 2, 2010

Campaign Finance: ANOTHER VICTORY! Some incumbent protections overturned!

You just won a big victory in the Supreme Court, but the media would have you believe otherwise. This message will explain…

  • What you just won in the Citizens United case
  • How and why the media is lying to you about it
  • And what remains to be done to restore more of your Constitutional rights

Here’s the basic situation…

Governments spend nearly half of the money you earn. This means that politicians have more influence over your life than anyone else. But how much influence do you have over the politicians?

You have the power to fire any employee or company that doesn’t provide you with a good product or service at a price you’re willing to pay. But you have almost no power to fire and replace your most important employees — members of Congress.

Why is that?

The answer is disturbing. Incumbent politicians have erected campaign finance restrictions designed to protect themselves, silence taxpayers, and cripple challengers. The politicians and the media tell us these laws are needed to prevent corruption, but does government seem less corrupt to you? Here’s the truth . . .

If you’re an incumbent, and it’s virtually illegal for people to raise enough money to unseat you, then you’re free to do whatever you want. THIS is a recipe for corruption. THIS and NOT campaign contributions is one of the main reasons WHY we have such a Big, Wasteful, Corrupt government.

Many things must be done to achieve honest, Constitutional government, but among the most important is the need to restore your…

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of the press
  • And freedom of association

Doing this will allow you to associate with others to raise and spend the money required to FIRE incumbent politicians. At present, the campaign finance laws prohibit you from doing this. Ask yourself this question…

Can you afford, all by yourself, to run for office to unseat an incumbent officeholder?

The answer is clearly no. This means that you must exercise your freedom of association to join with others to raise the required funds. But first, you will have to spend large sums of money to persuade people to participate. This is like starting a business, and that requires capital!

Too bad. This kind of capital has to be raised in chunks of ten and a hundred thousand dollars, but the campaign finance laws limit you to contributions of $2,100. That’s why it’s mostly the rich and well-connected who win election to public office. Meanwhile…

The established corporate news media can do something you cannot. They can raise and spend unlimited amounts to communicate about politicians, campaigns, and issues. The media constantly tells you what your choices are, and they never include, for instance, people like Ron Paul.

Media businesses have an unrestricted freedom of the press, but you do not. This helps to explain why so many in the news media…

  • Love the campaign finance restrictions
  • Tell so many lies about how these laws really work
  • Constantly promote the need for more such laws
  • Shriek whenever you gain rights approaching what they enjoy

It’s important to understand that the campaign finance restrictions not ONLY protect incumbents, but they ALSO give the established corporate news media privileged influence over public opinion. Fortunately…

DC Downsizers have worked for years to change this, and that work is starting to have an impact.

Most cases against the campaign finance laws have focused on the freedom of speech, but these challenges have always been denied by the courts, under the perverse reasoning that “money isn’t speech.” This is why…

Our attorneys were the first to argue that, even if money isn’t speech, money IS required to run a press or broadcasting effort. Our 2003 case, Ron Paul v. FEC, argued that the freedom of the press is a right that must be protected for all Americans, not only for those who run media businesses.

Our claim was denied, but the influence of our reasoning was clear during the oral arguments and in the dissenting opinions. But that was only the beginning…

Citizens United was co-plaintiff in our 2003 case. They renewed the fight last year. CU challenged campaign finance provisions that prohibited them from broadcasting a movie they had made about Hillary Clinton, who was then running for President. We asked DC Downsizers to help us provide funding for a brief in that case.

Our attorneys once again made their signature freedom of the press argument and were the only ones to do so. We believe this argument had a big influence on the outcome.

On January 21 the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment freedom of speech guarantee prohibits the Government from enforcing any financial restrictions limiting core political speech involving elections based on a speaker’s corporate identity.

This is a huge victory for YOU. It’s a great step toward restoring YOUR ABILITY TO FIRE AND REPLACE YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. But the media’s self-serving response has been predictable…

They have screamed that corporations have been given the right to buy elections, even though the media itself is entirely corporate, and already has the ability to spend unlimited amounts to influence elections. You can better understand the real truth by paying close attention to the full legal name of our two Downsize DC organizations…

The Downsize DC Foundation, Inc, and DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Both Downsize DC organizations are corporations. The Supreme Court has just restored some of your ability to use us as a way to join with others in order to better exercise your freedoms of association, of speech, and of the press. To gain an even better understanding of this please watch the following 3-minute video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZXlPdF5xkE

Ms. Sampson and her friends (depicted in the video) are nearly identical to the kind of association Downsize DC is, except that we’ve already bowed to legal requirements that we must incorporate in order to more fully exercise some of our supposed rights.

We will have much more to say about this in future Dispatches and blog posts…

  • There are many more self-serving media lies that need to be corrected
  • We need to develop a strategy and tools for dealing with the media in the same way that we deal with Congress
  • We need to educate taxpayers about the true causes of government corruption, and why campaign contributions are a cure and not a cause
  • And we will need to continue to make our case to the Supreme Court in order overturn all of the incumbent protection laws, enhance your ability to fire members of Congress, and allow you to regain all of your rights of association, of speech, and of the press

If you’re happy about this victory and the role we played in it, and you would like to see us do more, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Downsize DC Foundation, Inc.

Thank you for helping to make this victory possible.

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation
& DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

P.S. The mainstream media sure had a lot to say about the Citizens United case, and much of it wasn’t true. We have some further analysis about this case at our blog, “Lying About the Citizens United Case.”

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at feedback@downsizedc.org


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