Reform Party Statement on McCutcheon v. FEC

April 2nd, 2014 is a sad day for the American people. Several hours ago the US Supreme Court overturned rules on political contribution limits, and opened the door for special interest to buy the political system. It stands as the worst Supreme Court decision on speech since Citizens United.

According to the court majority, the basis of the decision rests on the precedent created by the Citizens United ruling. That ruling sets the precedent that money is speech. Money is not speech. First Amendment protections refer to words, both written and spoken, not the number of zeros in a bank account.

Citizens United and the new McCutcheon v. FEC rulings set poor precedents that will be used in the future to further erode political contribution laws. These laws, which curtail the influence of the special interests, are the only protections The People have to keep special interests from purchasing the Federal government.

The Reform Party calls on the Supreme Court to work in the best interest of the American People, and stop taking away The People’s protections. Furthermore the Reform Party calls on The People to act by standing up against these decisions, and petitioning our elected representatives to pass new safeguards.

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28 thoughts on “Reform Party Statement on McCutcheon v. FEC

  1. Nicholas Sarwark

    It’s ironic that a party born from the quixotic Presidential run of a billionaire comes out against a lifting of limits on political spending. Sad, but still ironic.

  2. paulie

    Perot was against it as well. OnTheIssues.org:

    Ross Perot on Government Reform

    Give the president the line-item veto. (Sep 2000)
    Get rid of all PACs. (Sep 2000)
    Turn over excess campaign funds to US Treasury. (Sep 2000)
    Vote on weekends instead of Tuesdays. (Sep 2000)
    Decision-making process is listening to opponents. (Sep 1996)
    Reduce the growth rate of federal government. (Jul 1996)
    Long-terms solutions instead of polls. (Jul 1996)
    Term Limits linked to Congressional performance. (Jul 1993)
    United We Stand America: create government from the people. (Jan 1993)
    Electronic Town Hall to replace representative government. (Nov 1992)
    End pork; end loopholes; end exit polling. (Nov 1992)
    Reduce government perks and staffers. (Nov 1992)
    The system is corrupt, not the people in it. (Nov 1992)
    Election reform: shorten elections, free air time. (Jul 1992)
    Curb PACs, ban soft money, ban electoral college. (Jul 1992)
    Cut government waste and start with top heavy bureaucracies. (Jul 1992)

  3. Darcy G. Richardson

    That’s an accurate observation by Paulie. He’s always right on target and has always been one of my favorite contributors on IPR. He’s also one of the most effective third-party activists in the country. The Reform Party is correct, too — their hearts are in the right place — but unfortunately it’s probably too little, too late.

    Sadly, the purchase of our federal government by the financial oligarchy is pretty much complete at this stage in U.S. history, gift-wrapped with a glistening bow in the election of Barack Obama in 2008. “Hope and Change” were the buzzwords, but we ended up with neither.

    The President was a foundation-funded creature from the start, saying all of the right things to perpetuate the myth that substantive change was possible. After five, or possibly seven, similar administrations since Nixon’s resignation — some worse than others, yet each one further rolling back the modest gains accomplished for ordinary folks during the Roosevelt, JFK, Johnson and Nixon administrations, all in the name of de-regulation, limited government, and “economic freedom” — the American people naively bought it, hook, line, and sinker. (Even Tricky Dick, for all of his faults, was a hell of a lot better than the last five clowns we’ve had; he wasn’t spineless and wouldn’t have let the Lords of Finance push him around the way they have his successors.)

    Obama, who might go down as our worst chief executive in history — today he ranks about 45th of our 44 Presidents — was a fraud from the start, a puppet and creation of the ruling class. Bush, the second imbecile by that name to occupy the White House with a third waiting in the wings, doesn’t even deserve to be on that list of 44, since he wasn’t really elected in the first place (the “Re-Defeat Bush” bumper stickers of 2004 are still fresh in my mind).

    But we don’t have a ruling class, say some. Oh, no? You mean, somebody like George W. Bush or Barack Obama, neither of whom had any real accomplishments to their names, can ascend to the White House simply by running a good campaign? It was sheer happenstance that these two ill-equipped men — one of whom traded on his family’s name and the other who probably would have liked to trade his family’s name — were elevated to the presidency simply because they ran effective campaigns? It’s doubtful that one of them ever read a book from cover to cover, and somewhat curious that the other allegedly wrote two books — both about himself.

    That doesn’t say a hell of a whole lot about the United States.

    Wow, what a great country! If people really believe that either of them ascended to the presidency based on their experience and background, then we’re doomed — absolutely doomed.

    Back to reality.

    An ineffective presidency — something Bush the Younger and Obama willingly delivered with a smile — coupled with a divided and highly dysfunctional Congress, is precisely what the financial plunderers have always wanted. Its play time! In fact, it’s straight out of the British playbook— you know, that benevolent country that never believed in colonialism or tried to force “free trade imperialism” on any other nation. Most Americans probably don’t know anything about that, but if they’re really interested they can ask the folks in Burma or India.

    The fact that Wall Street, which continues to be bailed out to the tune of $55 billion a month in the form of quantitative easing (QE3) — thereby artificially propping up global markets while making this otherwise economically brutal period seem like the “Roaring Twenties” for the country’s most affluent citizens — poured $37.6 million into Obama’s campaigns as of 2008, should have given everybody pause…

    Though most “free-market” Libertarians simply don’t get it, the gig is pretty much up…Wall Street, the City of London and their lackeys in Corporate America, as well as the “upper class” — the privileged minority across the globe who are now prospering like never before while most Americans struggle to barely keep their heads above water in the aftermath of an economic meltdown created by the wealthy elite — can have pretty much any government they want at this point and well into the foreseeable future.

    At long last, the U.S. Supreme Court has freed the pigs — and that’s exactly what they are, always looking for a way to fleece middle-income, working-class and poor Americans out of what little money they have.

    Oink, oink, slop, slop. Trust me, these deep-pocketed folks will devour everything…just give them time.

    The nation is theirs for the taking. What a great country!

    Meanwhile, the joke is on the American people, and the country’s wealthiest families are laughing all the way to the bank, slopping all the way… Well, actually, that’s not where they put most of their money these days.

    Moreover, with the recent McCutcheon v. FEC decision, minor party and independent candidates will now be outspent by vastly wider margins than in past — not that we were ever really a factor. Yet, inexplicably, some feeble-minded Libertarians, equating money with free speech, vigorously defend the ruling. It’s free speech, they say, but in reality it will have the unmistakable effect of diminishing everybody else’s speech.

    The Libertarians, of course, couldn’t be more wrong. After all, there’s two sides to this coin. (I say that because most Libertarians are foolishly into hard currency.)

    Think about it. If today you’re outspent 50 or 100-1, part of your message can still get through — at least to some of the electorate. How many people will hear your message if you’re outspent, say, 1,000-1, or 2,500-1? That’s what the future holds for America’s minor parties. If you can’t sweep them away with things like “Top Two” and discriminatory and burdensome ballot access laws, then we’ll simply outspend them by astronomical amounts. That’s the future that awaits America’s insurgent parties and candidates. The rest of us — those who have tried to put up a little resistance over the past four decades — should simply get out of their way.

    It’s feeding time for the swine.

    It might sound draconian, but the undeserved, swollen pocketbooks of the wealthy can and will make it happen. They’re going to own everything, including almost every politician in the United States.

    It won’t be too difficult. There’s more, much more, money in the hands of the rich in 2014 — less than seven years after the financial meltdown that they were recklessly responsible for creating — than ever before…and they want even more. Much more.

    Like Citizens United, the recent McCutcheon ruling potentially drowns out any alternative voices. In the end, avariciousness — the byproduct of an unfettered free market — will have killed America’s minor parties. In the next few election cycles, this will become increasingly obvious. That’s so, so sad…and ironic.

    To believe that the McCutcheon decision won’t have a lasting and potentially devastating effect on the nation’s minor parties, or even an adverse impact on insurgent candidates within the country’s two officially sanctioned parties, is, well, simply naïve, portraying a complete ignorance of the crucial role of money in American politics.

    Make no mistake about it. They’ll drown the dissenters — those with the courage to run against the established parties — in a flood of money. It’ll be the worst unnatural disaster in American history, sort of like the Johnstown Flood in 1889, and some in the Libertarian Party — unlike the Reform Party and most of the country’s other minor parties — will have sat idly by while cheering it on. How tragically pathetic.

    It’s really unfortunate that the Libertarians will have been a handmaiden in this deliberate effort to undermine and subvert open politics in the United States, all in the name of “freedom.” I guess the conservatives were right when they said, repeatedly, that freedom has a price, but who would have thought that they had the financial oligarchs — the very folks vehemently opposed by the Old Right — in mind when they made those statements?

    Any self-respecting libertarian — either big “L” or small “l” — should oppose the sale of politics in the United States to the highest bidder. Anything less would be treacherous and almost certainly signal the death knell of America’s smaller parties. This is sort of a make-or-break moment for the Libertarian Party.

    For most of the country’s minor parties, political participation will become a complete waste of time, money and energy. Seriously. Why bother, if billionaires like the Koch brothers and the folks on Wall Street can purchase virtually every public office? Is that what the Libertarian Party wants?

    The country’s minor parties should fight back in a united fashion, acting as a sort of last line of resistance for America’s better self. Instead of joining the 19th Century-minded Koch brothers in applauding the McCutcheon decision, the national LP should join the country’s other third parties in vigorously opposing this ruling. After all, this is a party that was all-too-willing to take federal matching funds in the last presidential campaign, a statute originally designed to level the playing field in American politics while minimizing the effects of big money.

    To do otherwise is telling the American public that “big money” rules. At that point, why should any voter support the Libertarian Party when they can have the real deal by voting for the Republicans, a party that actively encourages the takeover of American politics by private interests?

    C’mon, Libertarians. This is your moment. Stand for something meaningful. It’s now or never. Most Americans realize there’s a plutocracy in this country. Which side are you on?

    To accept anything less is to passively allow the obscenely rich to have what they want, to wittingly enable the well-heeled to buy control of our halls of Congress. After all, they’re the job creators, even if their so-called creations are pretty much invisible, unable to be detected by the naked eye or even by the most sophisticated and advanced technology. Everyone has been looking, but the jobs they’ve supposedly created dating back to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are sort of like Flight MH370. They’re out there somewhere; we just can’t find them.

    Give ’em more tax breaks, too. That’s the New America.

    Isn’t it great?

    Unless another Ross Perot or some other well-meaning billionaire appears on the horizon — a most unlikely scenario — third party and independent candidates will pretty much simply be going through the motions from here on out, pretending that this is still something resembling what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they created this Great Republic. It was a marvelous and novel concept and it had a decent run. Our Founders would have been proud. Too bad it didn’t last.

  4. paulie

    The biggest problem with money in politics is that politicians have way too much power (incuding over everything that involves earning money). As long as that is the case money will find its way into politics somehow, legally or illegally, directly or indirectly. The best thing to do is to make politicians so powerless that no one will see any reason to buy one off.

  5. Darcy G. Richardson

    If politicians are made even more powerless, then who runs the country? Wall Street? Corporate America? Though we’re close to that situation now, to me, that’s an entirely nightmarish scenario. We’ll be bailing out the wealthy — socialism for the rich — at a faster pace than we do now.

    At that point, why should anybody even bother participating in politics? Just let the moneyed interests run everything — they pretty much do now — and smart people should emigrate en masse…

  6. Jed Ziggler Post author

    “If politicians are made even more powerless, then who runs the country?:

    Individuals govern themselves. Why does everyone always assume there has to be someone to “run the country”?

  7. Darcy G. Richardson

    Really? Sorry to hear you say that, Jed, but that seems to be the direction of the country. I guess I’m in the minority.

    Everything is anti-government now, as though our representative democracy can no longer be trusted to solve any of our problems. I wonder how millions of Americans might have survived during the Great Depression if it wasn’t for politicians — FDR and Pennsylvania’s Joseph Guffey, for instance — and an activist federal government… The “free market,” while hording tremendous amounts of cash during that period, solved nothing during those years, famously failing to pull the nation out of that economic quagmire — sort of like today’s corporations that have been sitting on a couple of trillion dollars of cash while refusing to invest in the American economy.

    Come to think of it, many of today’s Fortune 500 companies — the tax-avoiding Caterpillar, hiding 85 percent of its profits in Geneva, Switzerland, springs to mind — got their start, prospered and grew precisely because of FDR’s New Deal policies. Caterpillar has only 65 employees in Switzerland, yet claims that’s where almost all of its profits are earned. Give me a break…

    In a Libertarian world, I assume we’ll just leave everything to J.P. Morgan and Bank of America… Have fun with that.

  8. Darcy G. Richardson

    Caterpillar, moreover, is precisely why we need a government that isn’t deaf, dumb, and blind.

  9. Jed Ziggler Post author

    That’s just a complete falsification of history. FDR’s New Deal meddling was a catastrophic failure that was mostly unconstitutional and made the depression far, far worse. One must only compare the Great Depression with the depression of 1920 to see that big government meddling only makes problems worse. Yes, in a free market there are economic downturns because of human error & greed. But when government keeps its hands off, we recover quickly.

    The Great Recession continues, despite what “experts” say, because of the constant meddling & bailouts by Bush, Obama, and their cabal.

    As for the tremendous power of Wall Street & Corporations, they have their power because of big government, not in spite of it. Without a big government to get in bed with, corporations are powerless & weak.

  10. Darcy G. Richardson

    Geez, Jed, you ought to read some real history, not the cottage industry created around the fictitious laissez faire fantasy created in recent decades by assorted Austrian and Mises-influenced writers. If the policies advocated by Hayek were pursued during the Great Depression, we’d now be in the 85th year of that economic slump.

    Remind me again, too, how libertarian economic policies — the ones advocating no government meddling in the economy, simply let nature take its course — worked out during the economic crisis of the Weimar Republic, essentially the same kinds of austerity measures advocated by today’s Libertarians. Also, let me know how the “Chicago Boys” — you know, Milton Friedman’s guys who engineered the myth of the “Chilean Miracle” when joblessness skyrocketed and the country experienced an inflation rate of 508% — did with the Pinochet regime in Chile when they embraced a fully free-market economy, in the 1970s.

    Libertarians always seem to avoid talking about those stark examples.

  11. Jed Ziggler Post author

    Weimar was exactly what we’re trying to avoid! They had a worthless fiat currency that led to massive hyperinflation. That’s the opposite of what libertarianism is about.

    On Chile, I’ll admit to being ignorant of that case, I’ll have to do some research. If the problem was inflation though as it pertains to monetary supply, I doubt their economy was free market. A free market requires a stable currency, which leads to relative stability in pricing.

  12. Darcy G. Richardson

    “That’s just a complete falsification of history..”

    There’s nothing in any of my comments that isn’t true, Jed. Maybe in your make-believe world, but serious historians and economists would strongly differ with your assessment. Some might even say that the Libertarian and Republican line that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies somehow prolonged the Great Depression is the greatest falsehood — an outright fabrication, to be quite honest — in American history.

    There are probably enough ill-informed people in the country these days — the millions who have been influenced to despise anything related to the government — that you can make it a reality, but how sad is that? The truth, again, is a mere casualty in the quest for power. The Koch brothers would be proud.

  13. paulie

    If politicians are made even more powerless,

    Even more powerless? LOL.

    then who runs the country? Wall Street? Corporate America?

    They would cease to exist as we know them without government to prop them up, bail them out, and shield them from upstart competition and liability.

    Though we’re close to that situation now, to me, that’s an entirely nightmarish scenario.

    Close to the situation now of corporations and wall street running the country hand in hand with their government partners in crime, absolutely. Close to politicians being powerless? Not at all.

    We’ll be bailing out the wealthy — socialism for the rich — at a faster pace than we do now.

    Without politicians empowered to do it who exactly would bail them out?

  14. paulie

    “If politicians are made even more powerless, then who runs the country?”

    Small businesses, family farmers, civic and voluntary associations of all kinds, workers and consumers coops, families, intentional communities…

  15. paulie

    Really? Sorry to hear you say that, Jed, but that seems to be the direction of the country. I guess I’m in the minority.

    Self-governing individuals and powerless politicians is the direction of this country? Are you serious? Government is getting much bigger, more powerful, more violent and more indebted all the time, at home and abroad.

    Everything is anti-government now, as though our representative democracy can no longer be trusted to solve any of our problems.

    They never could.

    I wonder how millions of Americans might have survived during the Great Depression if it wasn’t for politicians

    If it wasn’t for politicians and the manipulation of the money supply by the fed there would have been no depression, or it would have been over very quickly like previous depressions.

    All government did was worsen the problem, make it take longer to solve and created a whole bunch of additional ones, many of which are still with us today.

    today’s corporations that have been sitting on a couple of trillion dollars of cash while refusing to invest in the American economy.

    Yep. Much of it funneled to them directly or indirectly by our “powerless” politicians.

    Come to think of it, many of today’s Fortune 500 companies — the tax-avoiding Caterpillar, hiding 85 percent of its profits in Geneva, Switzerland, springs to mind — got their start, prospered and grew precisely because of FDR’s New Deal policies.

    My point exactly. Big government doesn’t curb big corporations contrary to what most people think; it creates and empowers them. They don’t balance each other out, they prop each other up…at the expense of the rest of us.

    In a Libertarian world, I assume we’ll just leave everything to J.P. Morgan and Bank of America…

    You assume incorrectly.

    In a Libertarian world those business would not be “too big to fail,” they would be too big to survive, like the dinosaurs they are.

    Government force is the only thing propping these bankrupt moral and actual criminals up today.

  16. paulie

    Caterpillar, moreover, is precisely why we need a government that isn’t deaf, dumb, and blind.

    So a corporate entity that you say (and I agree) exists because of government programs is why we need more government programs?

  17. paulie

    Geez, Jed, you ought to read some real history, not the cottage industry created around the fictitious laissez faire fantasy created in recent decades by assorted Austrian and Mises-influenced writers.

    We’ll have to disagree as to which is the real history.

    If the policies advocated by Hayek were pursued during the Great Depression, we’d now be in the 85th year of that economic slump.

    Au contrarire; we woud be a whole evolutionary step ahead of where we are today.

    Remind me again, too, how libertarian economic policies — the ones advocating no government meddling in the economy, simply let nature take its course — worked out during the economic crisis of the Weimar Republic, essentially the same kinds of austerity measures advocated by today’s Libertarians. Also, let me know how the “Chicago Boys” — you know, Milton Friedman’s guys who engineered the myth of the “Chilean Miracle” when joblessness skyrocketed and the country experienced an inflation rate of 508% — did with the Pinochet regime in Chile when they embraced a fully free-market economy, in the 1970s.

    There was nothing libertarian about any of that.

  18. paulie

    Weimar was exactly what we’re trying to avoid! They had a worthless fiat currency that led to massive hyperinflation. That’s the opposite of what libertarianism is about.

    Exactly.

  19. Darcy G. Richardson

    Jed,

    I appreciate the give-and-take and the fact that you’ve taken the time to respond to my comments. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Many of my closest friends are Libertarians; they’re always more willing to argue a point than almost anybody else across the political spectrum. That’s what makes them so cool.

    My views, I’m sure, aren’t too popular on this site — IPR is a little heavy on Libertarianism with precious few on the left-side of the spectrum — but I appreciate the opportunity to mix it up with one of them every now and then.

    I’m not sure why I’m such an avid defender of FDR — maybe it’s because my grandfather landed an administrative job in the WPA, enabling him to feed his family during the darkest days of the depression — but I guess it really irks me that some of the Austrian economists have dragged his name through the mud for the past twenty years or so. It’s become an entire industry and most of Roosevelt’s admirers have died off. Much to his credit, Roosevelt really did come to the rescue of America’s working-class when almost nobody else would.

    By the way — and this is a little-known fact that I mentioned in one of my forthcoming books — Roosevelt was deeply influenced by Pennsylvania Gov. Gifford Pinchot, a Republican who urged the newly-elected President in 1932 to pursue the kinds of public works programs that put money in the pockets of hundreds of thousands of otherwise destitute Pennsylvanians.

    Pinchot and his wife, Cornelia — a colorful figure in her own right — invited Franklin and Eleanor to dinner shortly after Roosevelt was elected and served them cabbage soup, telling the startled President-elect that they shouldn’t eat any better than the average Pennsylvanian. Pinchot, of course, had already paved the way for the Keystone State’s recovery by building “Pinchot roads” and wanted the Democratic president to do something similar on a national scale.

    Roosevelt, who had campaigned as a fiscal conservative, heeded Pinchot’s advice. Consequently, he governed very differently than he had campaigned.

    Pinchot, a sitting Republican governor, vigorously supported Roosevelt in 1932 and backed him all the way through. In fact, though long out of office — he failed in an unsuccessful bid for a non-consecutive third term in 1938 — Pinchot was one of the few prominent Republicans in the country to back FDR’s bid for a fourth term in 1944.

  20. paulie

    Roosevelt, who had campaigned as a fiscal conservative, heeded Pinchot’s advice. Consequently, he governed very differently than he had campaigned.

    Unfortunately.

  21. Darcy G. Richardson

    Geez, Jed, you ought to read some real history, not the cottage industry created around the fictitious laissez faire fantasy created in recent decades by assorted Austrian and Mises-influenced writers.

    “We’ll have to disagree as to which is the real history.”

    I guess so.

  22. Darcy G. Richardson

    I suppose that’s one way to look at it, Paulie. I’m grateful that Pinchot, a veteran of Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party and something of a third-party adventurer, had FDR’s ear. With joblessness at a staggering 25% — even higher in some places — and soup lines longer than the eye could see, the country was much better off as a result. By the way, Gov. Pinchot had thought seriously about running against Roosevelt and Hoover on a newly-created “Liberal Party” ticket earlier that year.

  23. Bob Tiernan

    Darcy: “If politicians are made even more powerless, then who runs the country? Wall Street? Corporate America? Though we’re close to that situation now, to me, that’s an entirely nightmarish scenario. We’ll be bailing out the wealthy — socialism for the rich — at a faster pace than we do now.”

    .
    The reason lots of money is spent by special interests to influence elections is because the government (at all levels) has been picking winners and losers for many years. It wasn’t always that way. Courts used to strike down government’s ability to pick winners and losers (and to keep the winners from losing). That all changed when it began to “manage the economy” beyond mere protections against unsafe conditions, and to appoint justices who’d “find” those new powers.

    .
    Bob Tiernan

  24. Bob Tiernan

    Paulie: “Geez, Jed, you ought to read some real history, not the cottage industry created around the fictitious laissez faire fantasy created in recent decades by assorted Austrian and Mises-influenced writers.”

    .
    I always get a kick out of this one. This is like saying that gee, since we never had a real “free expression” First Amendment Paradise, what’s wrong with having even more censorship.

    .
    “If the policies advocated by Hayek were pursued during the Great Depression, we’d now be in the 85th year of that economic slump.”

    .
    Hmmmm, there was a very bad recession when Harding first came into office. He did nothing, and it went away rather quickly. He even admitted that he did nothing. But that’s what’s hard about that kind of governing — having the willpower to resist the need to “govern” for the sake of image. At the same time I can say that unemployment insurance and food relief would have been nice to have (not counting whatever private aid existed), but we certainly didn’t need the New Deal nonsense which included drek laws like telling someone buying a chicken that he had to grab one without seeing it first – oh it would have been so unfair had someone been allowed (or continued to be allowed) to actually pick the one he wanted.

    ,
    Bob Tiernan

  25. paulie

    Is attributing what I am quoting to argue against it to me a common trait of the opposing Oregon factionalists? Dave Terry was doing the same thing before I quit reading his comments and for all I know still does.

  26. Jed Ziggler Post author

    “Jed, I appreciate the give-and-take and the fact that you’ve taken the time to respond to my comments. I’ve enjoyed it immensely.”

    Mutual respect amongst people who disagree is a beautiful thing, Mr. Richardson. 🙂

  27. paulie

    Darcy is a good guy and very intelligent and knowledgeable, regardless how much we disagree on the issues in this thread.

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