Guess Who Helped Create The Super PAC? The Honor Goes To SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

In January 2010, along came the US Supreme Court justices playing politics with their ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC ruling where they declared that political spending is protected under the First Amendment, meaning corporations and unions could spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities, as long as it was done independently of a party or candidate.

This amounts to corporations being entitled to participate in legalized bribery campaigns while not having to disclose their donations, now referred to as “dark monies.”

See: The Citizens United era of money in politics, explained – Vox

There are now US congressional leadership PACs where less than 50% of the monies are used for campaign purposes, the rest is used to fund personal luxury expenses.

 

For example, as per the 7/19/18 Fresno Bee report (based on MClatchy report) by Kate Irby, “(Rep. Devin) Nunes, R-Calif., has reportedly been a Celtics fan since high school, though he grew up in Tulare, California. He used the money from his political action committee last year on three occasions to buy tickets.”

“His PAC also spent about $42,741 since 2013 on catering, site rentals, hotels and meals in Las Vegas. The most recent instance was March 9, when the PAC spent $7,229 at seven different restaurants and hotels in Las Vegas.”

“On June 19, the PAC’s expenditures included nearly $5,000 spent at six wineries in Paso Robles and Santa Margarita, both outside his district in California, and about $5,000 to Gold Coast Limousine the same day.”

As per the 1/3/12 Washington Post op-ed piece by Ruth Marcus, “The establishment of the candidate-specific super PAC is a vehicle to completely destroy candidate contribution limits,” says Fred Wertheimer, president of the campaign finance reform group Democracy 21, which is releasing a report on the phenomenon. “It is a vehicle that will spread to Congress and it will lead us back to a system of pure legalized bribery, because you will be back, pre-Watergate, to unlimited contributions that are going for all practical purposes directly to candidates.”

Image result for cartoons about lobbyists pac money“Bonus points: The super PAC funds the dirty work of attack ads while the candidate gets to remain above the fray, not required to appear on camera to say that he or she approved this message.”

“I view the super PAC as the evil twin of the candidate’s campaign committee,” Federal Election Commission member Ellen Weintraub told me.”

“The emergence of these entities is the unanticipated but logical outgrowth of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC .”Image result for cartoons about lobbyists pac money“But as a practical matter, most publicly held corporations are squeamish about being associated with such direct advocacy. Instead, the real-world impact of Citizens United, in combination with lower-court rulings, was to usher in the era of the super PAC.”

“By definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, dismissing the notion that such spending could be corrosive.”

“Did he really mean to clear the path for independent expenditure committees backing a particular candidate — and bankrolled by the candidate’s father or run by his former top aides (Jon Huntsman and his Father)?”

Here is the rest of the story…

On August 20, 2018, Albert W. Alschuler, the Julius Kreeger professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Law School, for the Washington Post penned the following op-ed piece, “Brett Kavanaugh, the man who created the super PAC”

“As a candidate, Donald J. Trump called super PACs “very corrupt,” “a scam” and “a disaster,” castigating both his fellow Republicans and his Democratic opponent for being dependent on cash from these groups. In a nation in which most voters believe their own representatives in Congress have sold their votes for cash or campaign contributions, his promise to “drain the swamp” resonated.”

Image result for photos of brett kavanaugh

“So much for that. With President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the president is attempting to place the man who created the super PAC on the highest court in the land.”

“When people complain about money in politics, they often bemoan the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC. But before there was Citizens United, there was Emily’s List v. FEC, the 2009 case that allowed unlimited contributions to super PACs.”

“Kavanaugh wrote the opinion in Emily’s List as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, striking down restrictions on contributions to independent political committees. In the opinion, he declared that these committees “are constitutionally entitled to raise and spend unlimited money in support of candidates for elected office.” He reasoned that it was “implausible” that contributions to independent groups could corrupt candidates.”

Image result for photos of brett kavanaugh

“Trump had it right; Kavanaugh had it wrong. Contributions to super PACs can corrupt. In the recent prosecution of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), for example, prosecutors alleged that a co-defendant made two $300,000 contributions to a super PAC supporting Menendez’s reelection in exchange for the senator’s aid in resolving a Medicare billing dispute. Although a judge concluded after a hung jury that the government had not proved its case, he ruled that designating a super PAC as the recipient of a payment cannot legalize bribery or make bribery a First Amendment right.”

“For 42 years, the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of limiting contributions to candidates, but Kavanaugh’s ruling provided an easy way around the limits — allowing donors to give millions of dollars to support a candidate so long as the money goes to a group “independent” of the candidate. No legislator voted for this topsy-turvy system of campaign financing, and no sane legislator ever would.”

Image result for cartoons about super PAC

“In fact, Kavanaugh appeared ready to go further. He acknowledged that his ruling would create an “asymmetry” between how the law treats money going to independent groups and money going directly to candidates. His solution? Raise or eliminate the limits on contributions to parties and candidates.”

“Kavanaugh’s ruling was too much even for Janice Rogers Brown, the conservative judge on the D.C. Circuit who once described the 1937 Supreme Court decision upholding the New Deal as “the triumph of our own socialist revolution.” Kavanaugh’s opinion, Brown argued, resolved questions the parties had not argued and gave the plaintiff a broader victory than it had sought. Moreover, she said, Kavanaugh’s decision was “flatly” inconsistent with a Supreme Court decision upholding limits on contributions to political parties. Although Brown disapproved of this decision, she emphasized that lower-court judges were required to follow it.”

Image result for cartoons about super PAC

“Four months after Kavanaugh wrote his opinion, the Supreme Court handed down Citizens United, striking down bans on independent expenditures by corporations and labor unions. Two months after that, the D.C. Circuit relied on Citizens United when it held in  SpeechNow.org v. FEC that Kavanaugh’s reasoning in Emily’s List was correct.”

“As my co-authors and I explain in a law review article, however, the SpeechNow ruling was mistaken. Nothing in Citizens United supports the right to give unlimited sums to super PACs. That’s why my colleagues and I are representing members of Congress and congressional candidates seeking to bring that issue before the Supreme Court.”

“Opinion polls reveal that faith in our democracy is at a historic low, and super PACs have become powerful symbols of corruption. The judiciary’s award of First Amendment protection to this form of barely disguised bribery may have made people angry enough to elect Trump. For the president to elevate to the Supreme Court the judge most responsible for the super PAC is the height of irony.”

See: The Post’s View: Beware the super PAC

2 comments

  1. Gday Gronda, it is this and many more instances of incompetent behaviour that will stop this person from getting nominated as Supreme Court Judge. This guy is key to GOP after the NOV house and senate votes, IF they get through November, this guy is shoehorned in and then everything goes from bad to worse. And they are doing this to keep Donald in the WH. Because they are fat and lazy and do not really care. Sorry, what would I know. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gary J.,

      You know plenty and you have the picture, So, far our republicans in the US Congress, who have the majority of seats, have been derelict in their oversight duties over the executive branch ((the presidency) of our democracy.

      We who are part of the resistance have been furious over their reticence to abide by their oath of office. To date, it has been the US judicial system which has proven to be equal to the task. But now, this is at risk.

      Right now, the US democracy is under serious attack, both from within and without. These are rotten and frightening times. This is all too real.

      We could use a few miracles, right about now.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

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