The political season has arrived in full force and people are already harping about getting the money out of politics. That statement is so trite because without money, the political process would not work. Money enables candidates to spread their message, print materials, buy advertising on television, newspapers, websites. Money allows candidates to hire researchers to give advice on issues, conduct polling and travel. How is a candidate to get from place-to-place in a statewide race or a national race?
Already those on the left (and some on the right) are decrying the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which overturned campaign finance laws restricting corporate political speech. Political speech is a fundamental right of man, given to us by God, enabling us to express our opinions in whatever way we have available to us. Ah, but why should corporations have this fundamental right you ask? Because they are entitled to other, similar rights under the U.S. Constitution.
If we accepted the theory that corporations are not people, or are not entitled to Constitutional protections, then the government could arbitrarily and capriciously nationalize or take over all sorts of corporate entities. Those big evil oil companies would probably be at the top of the list if many liberals were in charge of the government. Remember Maxine Waters (D-CA):
Yep, Maxine would be all about socializing those evil oil companies but for the fact the U.S. Constitution prohibits the taking of private property (such as corporations, shares, ownership) without due process of law. Why doesn’t a corporation have, as shown in the Waters video above, the right to speak its mind about public policy and the Congressional strictures on their activity? Corporations should be able to exercise their right of free speech under the First Amendment to take part in the political discourse of this nation. These entities are as affected by public policy as are people.
Doesn’t the media exercise its right of free speech? General Electric, which owns NBC, exercises its right of free speech every day on its news programs. Jon Stewart and Comedy Central exercise their right, too. Last I checked those various media outlets such as NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Comedy Central, Fox News, et al, are corporate entities exercising their right of free speech every single day. Why are they different than a non-media corporation that puts money in a Super PAC to argue for or against a candidate or an issue?
Imagine a country where the 4th Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures did not apply to corporations. Federal agents raiding Google, Microsoft, Apple, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, Exxon, would have even the liberals in an uproar. What’s different between the 4th Amendment and the 1st Amendment? Nothing. They are both unalienable rights that guarantee freedom and liberty in this country.
So, as you hear the talking heads bemoan the influence of money in politics, be thankful that it does. The only way to make that influence more effective would be to limit all restrictions and simply require full disclosure of who gives to how much to who.