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Fighting back against Citizens United

This seem like a smart way to blunt the impact of the Citizens United ruling:

The White House and leading Democrats in Congress are close to proposing legislation that would force private companies and groups to disclose their behind-the-scenes financial involvement in political campaigns and advertising, officials involved in the discussions said Monday.

One provision would require the chief executive of any company or group that is the main backer of a campaign advertisement to personally appear in television and radio spots to acknowledge the sponsorship, the officials said.

The question, of course, is how effective it would be at getting the corporate backers to appear in ads that are under another organization's name.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 13, 2010; 9:39 AM ET
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sounds promising - there must be a point of diminishing returns for corporate backers in adding extra layers between themselves and the purveyor of the ad. At some point, it would be easier to just stand by the ad. so while a well-written law wouldn't be loophole proof, it could be reasonably effective.

Posted by: jduptonma | April 13, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Where's the Shareholder Protect Act up to? To me, that seemed a really good way of slowing corporate expenditure to a small degree... certainly a good first step.

Posted by: eirinn22 | April 13, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court has opened a pandora's box and corps and Republicans will find a way around any Democratic attempts to close that box.

Here's a relevant story....

Excerpt: "These work-arounds will get a boost from the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC -- not so much because it changed the rules of campaign finance but because the public perception that it did (reinforced by progressives overstating its impact) has allowed Republican operatives and lawyers to convince their corporate clients they need to change the way they do business. The independent committees that will be created to work around Steele will also be able to absorb large corporate contributions, so long as they don't coordinate their spending with the candidates."

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 13, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

So when is the WaPo's CEO going to start personally appearing in your blog, which is often a big campaign ad for the democratic party? And is GE's CEO going to start appearing on Olberman?

Posted by: sgaliger | April 13, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

oooh!!!!!! got ya.

Posted by: truck1 | April 13, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

This sort of regulation would be a great step!! Most corporations (unions, lobby groups, etc.) do not want such limelight on their leadership.

The ACLU and other civil rights groups who argued in favor of the Citizens United decision have truly helped to reduce the advertising bias present in past elections. It's refreshing to see the Administration and its allies joining the ACLU in the fight for civil rights, equality, and freedom for all.

Posted by: rmgregory | April 13, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame the following has to be explained to certain Americans....

While I think the media has undue influence in American elections, they are specifically protected by the Bill of Rights. Also, though the American media has become something of a joke in recent decades, they do play an oversight role over government.

That's why the WP CEO doesn't have to explicitly approve Ezra's blog or why GE's CEO doesn't have to appear on Olbermann's show or why Murdoch doesn't have to appear on Fox News or the Wall Street Journal. Besides, most people know by virtue of the words "Washington Post" on Ezra's blog that his blog is affiliated with, hold your horses, the Washington Post!!!!

I am astounded there are Americans who think it is good for democracy to have unlimited corporate dollars influencing elections. But then I remember why such people really vote for Republicans: Guns, Gays, Minorities, Fear, Greed, Jesus.

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 13, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Lomillialor, well, you need to read your 1st Amendment again. It says "Congress shall make NO LAW abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." It does not say no law just for the media and it's ok for everyone else (oh, and back the "the press" didn't mean the media, but the actual printing press).

But cheer up, I agree! Rupert Murdoch or GE's CEO and the WaPo do not have to make an appearance BECAUSE THAT WOULD VIOLATE THE FIRST AMENDMENT. Why you lefties don't see this is amazing to me. If you take the premise that corporations have no free speech rights, then the WaPo, NYT, CNBC, Fox News, ACLU, AARP, SEIU, NRA also have no free speech rights and Congress could pass a law saying "No blog paid for with corporate money (i.e. this one) may advocate the passage of any legislation." and that would be constitutional under your rubric.

Posted by: sgaliger | April 13, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"It does not say no law just for the media and it's ok for everyone else"

I didn't say or imply that. So your rebuttal is way off target.

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 13, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@Lomillialor: "But then I remember why such people really vote for Republicans: Guns, Gays, Minorities, Fear, Greed, Jesus."

Also, some of us just can't stand the arrogant, holier-than-though, condescending, smartest-person-in-the-room, self-congratulatory vibe of the opposition. You guys are so much better than us that you'd rather lose elections that have an electoral victory tainted by the vote of one of us sloping-foreheaded, banjo-plucking, unwashed yahoos. And I can respect that.

Beyond that, it's mostly fear of guns and greed for Jesus. Just like you said.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Also, some of us just can't stand the...."

No, it's the Guns, Gays, Minorities, Fear, Greed, Jesus.

All that other stuff you said is true of people in both parties, so it's a wash. What's different is the things I enumerated.

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 13, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

What about Chamber of Commerce ads, for instance? Would they have to be 10 minutes long and have hundreds of CEOs quickly saying "I approve this message"? Because otherwise, legislation like this is a toothless joke -- companies will just donate to cover groups with cute names like "Americans for a Sound Economy" and then have the leader of that organization in the ad.

Posted by: vvf2 | April 13, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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