The Republican National Convention Tuesday adopted a party platform that embraces the highly unpopular Citizens United ruling, opposes meaningful campaign finance disclosure, and actually calls for allowing donors to give more money to politicians.
In a section entitled “The First Amendment: Speech that is Protected” the platform states:
The rights of citizenship do not stop at the ballot box. They include the free speech right to devote one’s resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions that would discourage Americans from exercising their constitutional right to enter the political fray or limit their commitment to their ideals. As a result, we support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain- Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation designed to vitiate the Supreme Court’s recent decisions protecting political speech in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The Supreme Court has consistently held that free speech does not mean one can give as much as he or she wants to political candidates. Even in his 5-4 Citizens United majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged that the Buckley v. Valeo ruling found that unlimited contributions directly to a political candidate can “give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
In the same opinion, Kennedy wrote that disclosure “is the less-restrictive alternative to more comprehensive speech regulations.” But by opposing the DISCLOSE Act and other efforts to disclose who pays for independent expenditures, the GOP is endorsing a system in which voters cannot determine and evaluate who pays for political speech.
With groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spending millions on ads attacking Democrats without disclosing any of their donors, it is no wonder that the Republicans are embracing the status quo.
Three quarters of Americans believing there is too much money in politics. The Republican delegates are apparently among the only people in the country who think things would be better with more of it.