Following the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the “floodgates” have opened for enhanced corporate spending on elections. As ThinkProgress has reported, foreign-owned subsidiaries and foreign shareholders in American corporations are preparing to pour their resources into defeating and electing candidates of their choice.
While Democrats in Congress have already put forward proposals to develop clean elections, the GOP is largely championing the new status quo of limitless power for corporations. Guiding corporations into this new uncharted territory of election law, lobbyists and specialized law firms have stepped up to the plate. Among lobbying shops offering post-Citizens United assistance to corporate clients is a firm called King and Spalding, the firm of Indiana GOP Senate candidate Dan Coats. King and Spalding recently released a document promising to corporate clients:
New Opportunities for Corporations to Engage in Election Campaigns: […] Citizens United provides corporations with the ability to engage in the political process in dynamic ways. […] While not every corporation will want to buy advertisements that simply ask the public to vote for or against a candidate, every corporation should view the Citizens United decision as providing new tools to assist it in advancing policies and legislation that are in its shareholders’ interests.
As Zachary Roth reported yesterady, other firms are also pitching to clients to take advantage of the new system. K&LGates posted a similar document encouraging clients to seek their services in order to influence elections while avoiding “public scrutiny.”
Coats has come under fire for having lobbied for multinational corporations and financial institutions like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and AMGEN. But he’s also lobbied for foreign governments, including India and Yemen. For perhaps the first time in history, a candidate for Congress like Coats can harness millions, or even billions, of dollars in corporate electioneering from multinational corporations from all over the world. Given the fact his own lobbying firm is positioning itself to be a conduit for such spending, it’s a definite possibility.