At least one positive thing has already happened today, the Supreme Court has decided that if corporations and unions are able to flood political campaigns with issue and direct advocacy ads they must file reports explaining where the money is coming from. That means that any group that spends ten thousand dollars on an advocacy ad would need to name any contributor that gave more than $1,000. -- The current reporting requirements are much less than that for individuals.
This reporting requirement is small solace given that we will now see BILLIONS of dollars flooding into the 2010 election seasons with Internet, television, newspaper and radio ads.We learned today from the Supreme Court that corporations have the same First Amendment rights that as you and I do and that Congress can't put special restrictions on corporations. The majority said that "when a government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information...it uses censorship to control thought."
To believe the above is the triumph of power and money. Corporations currently have the ability to have their CEO write an Op-Ed piece, to get on a talk show and to write a personal blog just like the rest of our citizens. Now, under this ruling individuals can still continue to do that but the *entire* corporation can also purchase television ads and any other form of media as long as they announce that the ad was paid for by XYZ corporation. The four Justices who dissented said that there has been a claim that the corporations have been "cowed into quiescence by (the) FEC." Those four Justices said that this is unsubstantiated and "is hard to square with practical experience." I'll say! it is big money talking and that is it, pure and simple.
This ruling will mean that the small neighborhood groups that have been able to have a voice since 1990 will now be squashed by large money. It will mean that corporations like Google and Microsoft will be able to use their money as a megaphone while smaller groups will have only handbills, and media training and Internet blogs to be able to match the pocketbooks of the wealthy corporations.
America is like ancient Rome, we are being bought and paid for by the haves. The have nots will not stand a chance. It is already obscene how much money is spent on United States elections. It's much more money than will likely be given to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti and more cash than it would take to feed the eight million people of Southern Sudan who do not know where their next meal is coming from. The worst of this is that according to today's Supreme Court ruling we can't even make a law to stop this. We are going to have our "free" society controlled by those who have made the most money from it. And they call this democracy?
Ellen Ratner is Washington Bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a Fox News contributor.
Ellen Ratner joined FOX News Channel as a contributor in October 1997.