How to Effectively Counter the Citizens United Ruling

 Click Here for the Full Article | Listen to the Call

Progressives, for the most part, agree that Citizens United is a dangerous and horrible Supreme Court ruling that threatens the very nature of our election process. But the most recent Supreme Court ruling shows that the court is now reinforcing it on the state as well as federal level. It will take a good ten years or more to change the court’s sentiment on this issue, twenty years or more to get an amendment to the constitution stating that corporations are not people. While these slow processes are taking place, what else can be done?

Maxim started out with some background on the problem:Maxim Thorne recently (July, 2012) came on a Funding Exchange political education call to ask us to think outside the confines of our own ideology, class and sector before the arc of change bends beyond our grasp. You can listen to segments of the call below.

  • “There is a movement way beyond Citizens United to undo about every protection that we have taken over more than a century to expand democracy and keep to the principal of one person, one vote.”
  • Citizens United has rigged the rules in favor of big money. This is on top of the shocking explosion of wealth in the United States: the assets of the wealthiest 400 people over the past 20 years is twice the total assets of the 75,000 grantmaking foundations in our country, who that took more than a century to create their assets. For a handful of Americans, the possibility of “buying” election results has never been so easy.
  • The rules laid out in Citizens United apply to 501c(3) organizations as well, not just to for-profits and unions – because 501(c)(3)s, too, are corporations. This is unlike what we have been hearing from traditional sources about allowable political activity for 501(c)(3) organizations in a post-Citizens United world.

New strategies to fight back:

  • Tax-deductible charities have a constitutional right to speak about politics. Thorne believes this is the reality we’re heading for. If in fact corporations who are for-profits are able to spend on political speech, it seems strange we would limit the speech for charitable organizations that are not in the business for profit.

The Citizens United ruling has created a complex set of problems — to learn more about how we got into this mess and how some progressives are organizing against Citizens United, check out this more detailed report on Citizens United, and how to effectively respond to Citizens United activism.

Or listen to these excerpts from Maxim’s talk about the problems and strategies springing from Citizens United: