Tuesday, April 06, 2021

And He Says It With A Straight Face

 OMG @therecount! Can't make this shit up

Senate Minority Leader (and how nice it is to say the middle word) Mitch McConnell says "and I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEO's getting in the middle of politics.  My advice to the corporate CEO's of America is to stay out of politics." One tweeter appropriately snarked "...except when you contribute to my reelection fund to a tune of $4.3M over 5 years.  Thank you.  Otherwise stay out."

He was remarking narrowly about corporate contributions to the Minority Leader but could have been speaking (and probably was thinking) broadly about McConnell's role in lending a bullhorn to corporations to control American politics.  Last September, a columnist for The Michigan Daily explained that McConnell

has collected millions of dollars in speaking fees, personal gifts and campaign contributions from his “special friends” at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Then, inconspicuously, the senator filibustered several tobacco regulation bills and cast doubt on the negative health effects of secondhand smoke. This trend set McConnell on a direct collision course with another prominent Republican figure: the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The two warred over campaign finance reform for years with McCain partnering with Democrat Russ Feingold to create the McCain-Feingold BCRA in 2001. After introducing the bill several times and having it filibustered time and again by McConnell, the pair finally passed the bill with the bare minimum 60 votes in 2002. However, McConnell, ever the snapping tortoise, sued the Federal Election Commission based on constitutional grounds.

This case became McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, in which McConnell's attorneys filed an amicus curiae brief and for which in 2003 the Supreme Court

largely upheld the BCRA's limits on "soft money" and electioneering communications, but overturned its ban on party committees making "both coordinated and independent expenditures on behalf of a candidate after that candidate's general election nomination." As a result of the ruling, parties were no longer required to choose between one or the other. Upholding the First Amendment rights of minors, the Court overturned the BCRA's restrictions on contributions from individuals under the age of 18.

That decision in turn paved the way for the Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which "overturned election spending restrictions that date back more than 100years" and invited an explosion of dark money in politics.

We now have a system Mitch McConnell fought for, has supported, and has thrived in.  So when the Senate Minority Leader advises corporate bosses to stay out of politics, the nod and the wink is understood by everyone.


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