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Citizens United puts US on path to fascism

December 31st, 2010 · No Comments

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Democratic lawmaker: Citizens United puts US on path to fascism
By Daniel Tencer Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 — 9:56 pm
The US Supreme Court’s striking down of nearly a century’s worth of
campaign finance laws means the US government can now be “bought” and
the country may be headed for fascism, says an outgoing Democratic House
In an interview this week, Rep. John Hall (D-NY), who lost his seat in the mid-term elections, told the New York Observer that he sees a threat to American democracy in the court’s ruling.
“I learned when I was in social studies class in school that
corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called
fascism. So that’s really the question — is that the destination if
this court decision goes unchecked?”
The Citizens United decision upended decades of campaign
finance regulation, allowing corporations, unions and other groups to
spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns without having to
identify themselves. In a decision split along ideological lines, the court ruled that restrictions on spending amounted to a violation of First Amendment rights. Others have challenged the notion that corporations and other organizations have the “personhood” needed to be granted constitutional rights.
Hall was a key player in efforts to mitigate the effects of the Citizens United decision. He backed the DISCLOSE Act, which would have required groups to identify themselves when campaigning. Hall added provisions to the bill limiting the ability of foreign corporations to spend money on US elections. But, after passing the House, the bill was defeated by filibuster in the Senate.
“The country was bought,” Hall told the Observer, arguing that the Citizens United decision was one of the reasons Democrats lost control of the House.
The influx of unregulated cash into election campaigns has been linked to an increase in misinformation in campaign ads. CBS reported in October:
Outside groups, which are spending hundreds of millions
of dollars to influence elections this year (largely on behalf of
Republicans), are most likely to stretch or ignore the truth on their
advertising. These groups, which have exploded in size and influence in
the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, are often funded
by donors whose identities are not revealed to the public.
Hall said that Bush appointees Samuel Alito and John Roberts “claimed
in their confirmation hearings before the Senate that they would not be
activist judges [but] made a very activist decision in that it
overturned more than a century of precedent. And as a result there were
millions of extra dollars thrown into this race.”
He described Alito and Roberts as “extremists.”
Hall also suggested that the health care reform package may have
contributed to the Democrats’ electoral losses. He said he and other
Democrats were warned during the debate that it could cost them their
House seats.
“I don’t think that is the only reason why I lost but if it is I am OK with it,” he said.

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