News / USA

US Court Ruling on Corporate Campaign Spending Draws Concern

Peter Fedynsky

Two years ago this month [January 21], the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government may not limit spending by corporations on political campaigns. The majority in the narrow 5-4 decision, known as "Citizens United," said such limits would violate corporations' right to free speech - essentially treating corporate speech the same as that of individual human beings. There is growing concern that well-funded corporations may drown out the individual.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has the distinction of both supporting the "Citizens United" decision and being a victim of it.

Female Voice: “Ever notice how some people make a lot of mistakes?”

Newt Gingrich: “It was probably a mistake.”

This so-called "attack ad" was part of a multi-million-dollar negative campaign against Gingrich before the recent Iowa caucuses. It was funded by anonymous corporate donors who favor Mitt Romney for president.

The corporate attack ads are widely credited with helping pull Gingrich down from front-runner to fourth in the recent Iowa Caucuses.

The New York City Council is the latest American city to adopt a resolution calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution - to declare that corporations are not entitled to the same rights as people, and that money is not a constitutionally-protected form of speech. Other cities to do so include Los Angeles, California; Albany, New York; Boulder, Colorado and South Miami, Florida.

Jonah Minkoff-Zern represents Public Citizen, a non-profit organization that favors public campaign financing instead of allowing outside contributions.

“Our vote doesn’t matter the same way that someone who has so many resources to devote to a campaign, whether it’s a wealthy individual or a mega-corporation,” said Minkoff-Zern.

Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Romney supporter, voted against the New York resolution.

“Because it’s just as important, even if you don’t agree with it, as the influence labor organizations and other groups may have. You have to create an equal playing field and zeroing out one group simply because we don’t agree with them just to help another - that’s not fair, that’s not American,” said Ulrich.

Ulrich mentioned newspapers and religious groups as collective organizations that also can influence elections.

The Supreme Court decision was based on a case filed against a group called Citizens United, which used corporate funds to produce a film attacking 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.



You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid