Republicans Argue That Corporations Should Be Allowed To Sponsor Candidates

The popularity of NASCAR has exposed most Americans to photographs of drivers in silly jumpsuits festooned with myriad patches of their sponsors’ logos. The drivers’ uniforms rival their race cars for corporate advertisements and in combination, the drivers and their machines are eerily similar to a clown and his little pretend car people attending a circus recognize. If Republicans have their way, it will not be long before candidates appear in debates and on the campaign trail wearing jumpsuits with their corporate sponsors’ logos, and unlike NASCAR drivers and their cars, the GOP clowns will not engender derisive laughter, but fear and desperation as America’s elections, democracy, and government are sold to the highest spending corporation. Willard Romney and the Supreme Court claim corporations are people, but if the RNC prevails, corporations will have more influence on elections than millions of people.

The Citizens United decision the conservative Supreme Court handed down gives corporations the right of free speech to spend unlimited funds to run political ads or use other media modalities to influence elections in their favor. Corporations are still forbidden from contributing directly to a candidate or a committee (such as the Republican National Committee {RNC}), and it is the last line of defense to prevent corporate ownership of a candidate. In a brief filed on Monday in the 4TH Circuit, the RNC argued it is unconstitutional to deny direct corporate sponsorship of a candidate or committee because they claim the ban applies “across the board to all corporations,” regardless of size.

The RNC argues that most corporations are not giant entities that seek to influence elections and that most corporations are little more than mom and pop operations typical of small shops in any American neighborhood.  However, the brief points out that the prohibition on corporate giants such as Halliburton unfairly targets little family shops and therefore is unconstitutional. If the court agrees with the RNC’s argument, there will be no distinction between Uncle Paul and Aunt Irene’s craft store and Koch Industries or General Electric. The Republicans are not challenging the prohibition on direct corporate financing for family-owned markets, but for giant corporations with unlimited amounts of cash.

A favorable ruling for the RNC means that a wealthy individual or Wall Street bank CEO can register themselves as a corporation and avoid the limits on campaign donations ordinary citizens face. Many Americans may be under the illusion that creating a corporation is a legal nightmare, but it is as easy as filling in a couple of forms with an online business filing service and appointing a board of directors. There are thousands of corporations consisting of an individual and a couple of family members who agree to be listed as the corporation’s directors. A corporation is a distinct legal entity that is separate from the individual (or shareholders) who own it and they are generally formed to avoid paying taxes and to mitigate liability in case of accident or owner malfeasance.

The danger inherent in allowing corporations to sponsor, and thus own, a political candidate cannot be overstated. The RNC’s implication that the local convenience store owner is being unfairly lumped in with the likes of Koch Industries is cunning, but it does not alter the result of their argument if the court agrees with them. For one thing, a small family-owned corporation does not have the means to donate more than the federal limit for an individual during an election. If a small business incorporates, it is for liability protection in case of an accident to prevent a lawsuit from wiping out an individual’s home, belongings, and future earnings and not to pay shareholders and investor dividends. Koch Industries, Halliburton, and the like are the intended beneficiaries of the RNC legal challenge to bans on direct corporate donations and will allow men like Charles and David Koch to empty their substantial bank accounts to buy a presidential, congressional, or gubernatorial candidate with unlimited funds. The RNC is not concerned with mom and pop operations.

The RNC brief specifically refers to the Citizens United decision in their argument and noted the High Court mentioned that “more than 75% of corporations whose income is taxed under federal law have less than $1 million in receipts per year,” while “96% of the 3 million businesses that belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have fewer than 100 employees.”  The RNC’s citation of the Supreme Court’s figures is misleading because there are very few neighborhood stores that have more than two or three employees if they are prosperous and have closer to $150,000 in receipts per year. The Republican National Committee may fool the courts, but any American who patronizes their neighborhood market knows that 100 employees and a million dollars a year in receipts is laughable, and even if it was true, they would hardly be on par with Exxon, Halliburton, or Koch Industries and their many subsidiaries.

The attempt by Republicans to subvert America’s democracy in favor of blatant corporatist takeover of the government will be complete if the 4th Circuit Court rules in favor of the RNC. The Citizens United decision will pale in comparison if the last vestiges of campaign finance laws are eliminated in favor of truly unlimited corporate sponsorship. If a corporation like Koch Industries is allowed to give unlimited amounts of cash to a political candidate as their sponsor, funny uniforms decorated with patches and logos will be the least of America’s problems.

It will not be shocking if a conservative court grants Republicans permission to sell their current presidential candidate to Exxon, Halliburton, or Koch Industries, and if that eventuality happens soon enough, Americans can rest assured the next time a Republican presidential candidate appears on a debate stage he will be wearing a funny jumpsuit adorned with oil industry logos and a billboard announcing; “Koch Industries presents…Willard Romney, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.”  By then, America as a representative democracy will be finished and the country, like stadiums everywhere, will be renamed to reflect corporate ownership and, despite what the RNC says, the neighborhood market will have nothing whatsoever to do with it. Americans may as well get used to the United States of (insert corporate name) because America is close to being replaced by the corporation with the largest bank account.

Image: dangerousminds.net

30 Replies to “Republicans Argue That Corporations Should Be Allowed To Sponsor Candidates”

  1. Well, isn’t that how it already works? All the RNC is asking for is to allow the candidates to openly wear the logos! LOL

    I actually think it’s a terrific idea to publicly promote how bought and sold these assholes are. “Real Americans” may have no problem with corporate logos all over their NASCARs, but I suspect seeing them attached to their leaders isn’t going to work out the way the RNC hopes.

  2. I had imagined this scenario years ago, but it was for a science fiction future in a story set in the 22d Century. I didn’t think I’d see anything like this coming in my lifetime. Money really does talk, and it bought the future out from under the regular folks, just like an oil baron buying cheap non-arable land for the oil fields beneath. “I drink your milkshake!!!”

  3. It is time for public funding of elections, a time limit on how far ahead ads can even air, and NO corporate money ever. This is nuts, and a sad commentary on how the GOP envisions this nation.

  4. Vote for any of the “status quo” candidates and you get what you ask for. Do your research on Ron Paul. I think you will be very surprised at what you find. Imagine a man who does not flip-flop, wants to bring all of our troops home, abolish the IRS, cut taxes and protect our personal freedom. What a concept!

  5. There’s actually unintentional hilarity here if you’re an Oregonian:

    1) we have state laws that forbid anything other than actual political organizations from funding campaigns here—and it works nicely.

    2) (the hilarious part). That doesn’t mean that the RNC or DNC can’t run commericals. Which is fine. Currently, we’re having a special election for CD1, the district currently vacated by David Wu and his Tiger suit.

    It’s a blue district Cook PVI D+8, in a blue state. The weakest thing about the Dem candidate is that she’s kinda dull. Otherwise, she’s an experienced consumer rights’ attorney and legislator, whose most recent job was represented part of the district at the state level.

    The Republican? A snake oil salesman, whose political experience consists of his previous unsuccessful run for the same seat. His position is as a “job creator” even though his small business at its apex only employed 20 people. Its staff is currently 4, all of whom work from home because the business can’t afford an office. He also has a record of exploiting interns and not paying taxes.

    Anyway…the RNC, quite wisely, saw no reason to spend any $$$ on a shitty candidate in a blue district. So HE’S the one whining about losing because of outside $$$$, etc. Cause the DCCC wanted to make absolutely sure they held the seat. Even though he trails by 11 points and counting…

  6. In the world of the GOP, America will be owned and operated by the highest bidder and then gambled off through wall street.

  7. Hate to pick nits, particularly since I loved this article, but there is nothing the least bit “conservative” about the Court’s Citizens United ruling. Right wing, reactionary, radical, yes. Conservative? I think not!

  8. I suggest you look up articles concerning Ron Paul and the repeal of the 14th amendment. He is not on your side nor concerned about your personal freedoms. What he wants is you as a slave in the work place and he wants your environment ruined for corporate gain. I find it hilarious that you are and approval of abolishing the IRS. You would not like the country you find after that happens. I think people like you need to scratch the surface of Ron Paul a little bit and stop living on talking points

  9. If there is anything conservative about it, it is like a giant advertisement in the middle of a freeway stating that the GOP wants or has nothing to do with a regular American citizen

  10. And here I thought Ridley Scott’s “Aliens” universe where humanity is controlled by corporations was science fiction.

  11. Then those politicians should wear badges of those corporations designating they are the brought and paid for candidate. The public can then choose whether to buy that good or services depending on politician the corporation paid for. Wait this sounds like politicians are whores!!!!

  12. Agree. Ron Paul is out of touch and will hand over America to corporations it will no longer be “we” the people but “me” the corporations. Ron Paul is a service to self person who’s bible is Atlas Shrugged. If he doesn’t get the nomination Rand is waiting in the wings. Both of them scare me.

  13. it’s actually us that they are selling to the corporations. Whoever gets elected that is supported by that corporation is our representative to that corporation and that’s just about it. Who will lead be giving our campaign money to next? Today we give it to Barack Obama or met Romney, next year we may be giving it to Halliburton or media matters.

    These must be those conservative values that this country was created on that met Romney keeps talking about. We give our money to corporations to the products that we buy, they turn around and use our money to elect or support absolutely asinine candidates. And then they try to stop unions from giving money at all. Because obviously they don’t give to the traditional American values corporations.

    I am sick of this entire thing

  14. It is, in fact, the kind of thing that was featured in mid-Twentieth Century dystopic fiction, and no, none of us really thought we’d live to see it.

  15. You’re right. “Conservative” sounds so stuffy and harmless, even like preserved fruit. These are Dissocialists, in every sense: they want to dismantle everything “socialist”, they want to destroy society, and they all have dissocial personality disorder (i.e., they’re psychopaths).

  16. Name the countries where Libertarianism rules; how about Haiti and Somalia? Take a good look at where Ron Paul sees the future; Papa Doc set up for his son Baby Doc and only a few families run the show…nice!

  17. Well, as long as the politicos carry those huge obnoxious “over-night” purses and trot around the rotunda in those Sara Palin “f**k-me stilettos…I mean, she IS a “trend setter” for the Republican klass…

    And, where is Rrrreince Prebius these days? Who’s lap is head buried in?

  18. I think if we vote for Obama’s reelection, maybe we’ll have a chance to get another Supreme Court Justice
    to vote down the Citizen’s United policy that allows this to happen. The majority is 5 to 4 now with Conservatives in the majority.

  19. Well, on another note, the corporation that made Twinkies, Sno-balls, all that horrible fake crap the called “food” has gone into gutter…the only way we sink “their” ship to save “our” ship is to not buy from them! Buy used, buy local, recycle whatever, trade with a neighbors, but stay out of the big boxes! That is “conserve-a-tism”.

  20. That’s a fair point but one only PoliSci major/minors and political junkies (I’m both) will really care about. The general public now sees everything on the right as being conservative (because the right has propogated that idea) in the same way and for the same reasons as the right is now trying to make “liberal” synonymous with “socialist”.

  21. If the right wins this one, they will have achieved their grandest ambition for the USA will truly be a fascist state. Fascism, as Mussolini told us (and he should know, he invented it) is the merger of state and corporate power and should, more properly be called corporatism.

  22. “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in excess body fat ,carrying a misspelled sign.”

  23. You’re right about Conservatives. However, it is the label Americans now associate with the Republicans. It really began in about 1951 with William F. Buckley Jr. and the National Review. No, I’m not old enough to remember. :)

  24. Actually, the demonizing of the word “liberal” comes from the fundamentalist Christians post civil war. Fundamentalist were trying to distinguish themselves from those who were Christian and followed the “social justice” scriptures from, mostly southern christian, their new fire brand evangelical “apocalyptic” approach that encompassed hate for those who helped “Satan’s children” (the slaves) to walk amongst all mankind as an equal…it’s code for “northern-Yankee-secular-humanist-socialist”.

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