Archive for April, 2014

Supreme Court Establishing “Plutocrat Rights”

April 27, 2014

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
________________________________________________________

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Supreme Court Establishing “Plutocrat Rights”

USA Today reports: “The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections. The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision leaves in place the base limits on what can be given to each individual campaign.”

JOHN BONIFAX
Bonifaz is president of Free Speech For People, a group that has sought to overturn the Citizens United decision.

JEFF MILCHEN
Milchen is co-founder of the Montana-based American Independent Business Alliance, which was party to briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. He said today: “This decision, expanding the Supreme Court’s ‘money equals free speech’ doctrine has made the democratic republic, promised to us by our Constitution, impossible. Citizens’ votes are stripped of power when the wealthiest few have pre-determined which candidates and parties are acceptable for the rest of us to choose among.

“The Court majority also does immense harm to America’s independent businesses. Their ruling allows corporate executives and lobbyists to easily convert their economic power into countless political favors. These favors consistently harm our small business constituents by extracting subsidies for the largest corporations, stifling enforcement of anti-trust laws, and systematically giving anti-competitive advantages to the largest donors.”

RAHNA EPTING
Deputy executive director at Public Campaign Action Fund, Epting said today: “The Supreme Court once again sided with the wealthiest among us at the expense of ordinary Americans. … This makes it more important than ever that Congress moves forward on legislation like the Government By the People Act to ensure people unable to write big checks have a voice in the political process.”

ROBERT WEISSMAN
Weissman is president of Public Citizen, which notes in a statement: “Today, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on the aggregate amounts people can donate to candidates, political parties and political committees. Demonstrations that Public Citizen helped organize are scheduled to take place throughout the country in response.” For more information, visit: citizen.org/mccutcheon and moneyout-votersin.org.

Weissman said today: “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission strikes a devastating blow at the very foundation of our democracy.

“This is truly a decision establishing plutocrat rights. The Supreme Court today holds that the purported right of a few hundred superrich individuals to spend outrageously large sums on campaign contributions outweighs the national interest in political equality and a government free of corruption.

“In practical terms, the decision means that one individual can write a single check for $5.9 million to be spent by candidates, political parties and political committees.

“Even after Citizens United, this case is absolutely stunning. It is sure to go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of American jurisprudence.

“Until today, nobody could contribute more than $123,000 total in each two-year election cycle to political candidates and parties.

Citizens United allowed Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants – predominantly in undisclosed contributions filtered through the likes of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – distorting our elections. But Citizens United money can go only to outside groups.

“Now McCutcheon removes meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees. …

“There are literally only a few hundred people who can and will take advantage of this horrendous ruling. But those are exactly the people our elected officials will now be answering to.

“That is not democracy.

“It is plutocracy.

“Today’s reckless Supreme Court ruling threatens so many of the things we love about our country.

“No matter what five Supreme Court justices say, the First Amendment was never intended to provide a giant megaphone for the wealthiest to use to shout down the rest of us.

“Our only hope of overturning this McCutcheon travesty — along with Citizens United — is if millions of Americans band together in saying ‘Enough!’ to plutocracy.

“We couldn’t face a starker choice: Accept rule by the few, based on wealth. Or join together to protect and reclaim our democracy – the notion that We, the People decide.

“Today, people across the nation will be responding with protests to this outrageous decision. We, the People insist that our government and our country remain of, by and for the people – all the people, not just those few who have amassed billions in wealth.

“A vibrant movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy has emerged since the 2010 issuance of that fateful decision. The demonstrations today – unprecedented as a same-day response to a Supreme Court decision – are just the latest manifestation of how that movement is now exploding across the country.

“We refuse to cede control of our country and our government to amoral multinationals and morally comprised plutocrats.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

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Action to Preserve Open Internet

April 27, 2014

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
________________________________________________________

Friday, April 25, 2014

Action to Preserve Open Internet

The New York Times is reporting: “In the nine weeks since the Federal Communications Commission said it would try, for a third time, to write new rules to secure an open Internet, at least 69 companies, interest groups and trade associations — over one a day — have met with or otherwise lobbied commission officials on what the rules should specify.

 
“That effort does not count the more than 10,000 comments that individuals have submitted to the F.C.C.”
 

petition sponsored by Demand Progress and RootsAction.org demanding commitment to “the principle of equal access to the Internet” has resulted in nearly 40,000 people sending protest emails to each of the FCC commissioners in the 24 hours that began Thursday morning.

 

DAVID SEGAL
A former Rhode Island state representative, Segal is now executive director of Demand Progress. He said today, “In order to get the FCC to save net neutrality, we need to bring a lot of public and political pressure to bear right away. That means making our voices heard by the FCC and urging lawmakers to pressure the FCC to reclassify Internet as a ‘telecommunications service.’ Demand Progress and RootsAction and many other organizations are working towards those ends — to win, we’ll need to enlist the help of hundreds of thousands of Americans over the next couple of weeks.”
JEFF COHEN
Cohen is co-founder of RootsAction.org and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. He is available for a limited number of interviews. He said today, “People are right to be outraged that Obama’s FCC is moving to extinguish an open Internet, especially since then-candidate Obama promised in 2008: ‘I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality.’  We must not allow net neutrality to be just another broken promise. Let’s organize like mad to save the Internet, as if democracy and press freedom both depend on it…because they do. If we lose net neutrality, that will subvert today’s booming independent media — now much stronger than in many decades, thanks largely to an open Internet.”

 
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Avram Reisman, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167