Blog — Campaign Finance Reform

June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Fails Again

By CREW Staff

Supreme Court buildingToday the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, summarily reversed the Montana State Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s prohibition on corporate political expenditures.  This decision makes clear that for a majority of the Supreme Court, Citizens United is the last word on this issue. 

Last month, CREW and other campaign finance reform advocates joined in asking the Supreme Court to deny review of the Montana decision or, alternatively, grant review and reconsider its holding in Citizens United that independent expenditures do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption and affirm the judgment of the Supreme Court of Montana.  But a majority of the Court ignored the factual record developed in the Montana case of an election system historically corrupted by corporate special interest money, and reversed the Montana Supreme Court without briefing and oral argument.

The Supreme Court, like Congress, has become so politicized that it risks losing all credibility.  An institution that once enjoyed high public confidence, it has lost considerable ground, thanks in great part to this thoroughly criticized decision.  Those justices appointed by Republican presidents seem intent on doing all they can to provide a competitive advantage to their elected compatriots.  Why should our jurists worry about the corrupting influence of money or the jaded view of most Americans that our political leaders are bought and paid for?

As a result of today’s decision, Citizens United will stand and unlimited secret spending will continue.  The Court’s decision sanctions the current status quo whereby voters will be severely hindered in their ability to make informed decisions on Election Day as we are unable to discover who is attempting to influence our votes.

Until the current make-up of the Supreme Court changes, it appears the only recourse citizens have short of a constitutional amendment is to continue to push Congress to enact tougher campaign spending disclosure laws.  Absurdly, even though he once supported such disclosure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (as well as Republican strategist Karl Rove) now claims making people accountable for their views is “thuggery.”  So, as CREW has noted before, passage of even such common sense reform is unlikely anytime soon.

Obama’s Refusal to Fix the Federal Election Commission Disappoints

Last week, the White House finally responded to our FEC petition in uninspiring and uninformative fashion.
Read More ›

CREW and Other Groups File Amicus Brief to Supreme Court in Critical Campaign Finance Case

CREW and others joined in asking the Supreme Court to deny review of a Montana State Supreme Court decision upholding the state's prohibition on corporate political expenditures.
Read More ›

Fun with Super PACs, Brought to You by the Supreme Court and FEC

Super PACs are thriving in the post-Citizens United world, but they're not all out to thwart hapless disclosure laws and influence our elections. Read More ›

What’s Next After Family Affair?

After including 248 members of Congress in our Family Affair report, the responses from those asked to address their behavior started to sound alike. Read More ›

Glad You Mentioned the Problem of Money in Politics, Mr. President, But What About the FEC?

Americans are repulsed by all the money flowing into our electoral system and want to see our political leaders take action. Read More ›

Sadly, Super PACs Are No Joke

The joke is on the voters who are subjected to similarly misleading ads from super PACs. Read More ›

© 2014 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, all rights reserved.
• 1400 Eye Street NW • Suite 450 • Washington, DC 20005 • 202-408-5565 •

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington®, and the
“CREW | Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” wordmark are registered trademarks.