Supreme Court (correctly) rules that campaigns are speech, too

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  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    April 8, 2014 6:59 a.m.


    This may come as a surprise, but pacs are people too.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    Inconvenient thing, that Constitution. Perhaps it shouldn't grant freedom to all citizens. Maybe we can get around it when we don't like its guarantees of freedoms to everyone.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 3, 2014 5:04 p.m.

    “On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down another limitation on participation in the political process.”

    According to DN, those with the most money deserve more political power than anyone else. The day before yesterday, that was illegal. Now it’s OK.

    The Deseret News says we should celebrate the fact that “the U.S. Supreme Court struck down another limitation on participation in the political process.”

    We aren’t stopping there, are we? Plenty of other limitations have not yet been removed.
    There are laws against using kidnapping, extortion, and force of arms to influence politics. Are we getting rid of those limitations next? It makes just as much sense as letting money dictate policy. Guns, bombs, poison, suicide vests, and a willingness to use them are almost as politically effective as bribery. Just ask Al Qadah.

    Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision essentially subverts Democracy in America. It is an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against the nation by Right Leaning “Conservatives,” but DN says that’s wonderful because it removes “limitations on participation in the political process.”

    And we certainly don’t want any limitations on participation in the political process.

  • factsplease SLO, CA
    April 3, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    "It is inarguably true that Democrats raise more money from fewer actual people than do Republicans"

    I would like to know the source on which you make that claim.

    On the other hand,
    The Washington Post reported:
    "Nearly half of the donors to Obama’s reelection campaign in 2011 gave $200 or less, more than double the proportion seen in 2007, according to the analysis from the Campaign Finance Institute, which tracks money in politics.

    Just 9 percent of donors to GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, by contrast, came from the lowest end of the contribution scale, the study shows. Obama raised more money in aggregate from small donors — $56.7 million — than Romney raised overall.

    Additionally, Opensecrets reported for the 2012 election, 32% of Obama's funding came from small individual contributions, while 17% of Romney's fundraising came from small individual contributions. 0% of Obama's funds came from PACs while .2% of Romney's funding came from PACs.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 3, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    Re: ". . . Republican Party . . . favors plutocracy over democracy."

    Any argument advanced regarding Republican attitudes towards big money donors would apply equally, or more so, to Democrats. It is inarguably true that Democrats raise more money from fewer actual people than do Republicans. This is particularly true, since massive trade-union donations can honestly be attributed only to union bosses, not to the rank and file.

    If catering to big-money contributors illustrates Republican attitudes toward plutocracy, the Democratic Party's real attitude -- as opposed to its disingenuous blather -- must be even more partial to plutocracy.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 3, 2014 1:11 p.m.

    To everyone who opposed Count My Vote because of concern that only well-funded candidates would be able to win... do you also oppose these decisions allowing so much money to be put in by billionaires, corporations, unions, secret super-pacs, etc?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 3, 2014 1:07 p.m.

    To me, the strongest sign of this being problematic is when you realize that bribery hardly seems necessary these days when you can wield so much influence through legal campaign contributions to candidates or super-pacs.

    @Thid Barker
    "Those who lament the SCOTUS's decision don't seem to mind that there is no limits on union donations to Democrats!"

    I'm perfectly fine with seeing everyone limited in campaign contributions including unions.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 3, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    clearfield, UT
    By the way. To those who believe that powerful unseen forces with all this "right wing" money are a threat to democracy, consider this.


    This is the problem with some of you...

    You are so partisan,
    you become to Right vs. Wrong

    it's always a Left vs. Right thing.

    Re-Read the POSTS.

    Those of us on the Left, are upset for ANY money going to Policians, period.

    It doesn't matter.

    What matters is Right and Wrong,
    and this is clearly WRONG,

    And here we have you guys out dancing in the Streets like some sort of Vicotry dance.

    It's not.
    It's a Sad day in America.
    Especially for the 99% of us, who's voices just got silenced.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    April 3, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    To "airnaut" I think you forgot that just a couple of days ago we read that the Democrats represent the districts with the greatest wealth. So, using your logic, doesn't that mean that Demcrats are bought and paid for by the Gadiantons that you despise.

    I hate to keep bursting your bubble, but Congress is already a den of millionairs. Just look at the net worth of so many of them. The most interesting thig is how they were able to get wealthy through investments. Until recently they could engage in insider trading legally.

    Have you seen all of the reports of Democrats being caught in finance scandals. Doesn't that show you many of the Gadiantons are hiding.

    One thing you forget about the Gadiantons is that they wanted a powerful central government. Did you know that liberals and Democrats push for policies that establish a powerful central government? Did you know that Conservatives are pushing for policies that strip power away from the central government? Tell me, why do you keep supporting the Gadiantons?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    April 3, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    By the way. To those who believe that powerful unseen forces with all this "right wing" money are a threat to democracy, consider this. We don't need government regulation on how much money is spent. What we need is 100% openness as to who, how much, and to whom it is given for a political office or cause. That way if say the Koch Brothers were to give 100 million dollars to some guy to run for city council of Elbow Lake Minnesota it would be public knowledge and the voters could vote accordingly. Likewise if some ballot measure is funded by interest groups, that would be public knowledge too. So an organization like People for the American way supporting a proposition with a certain amount of money would be known to all the voters before they cast their vote. Openness as to where the money comes from and who donates it would be the best answer to any worry about the buying of elections.

    FT Don't forget that Obama raised over a billion dollars to run. Wasn't like he didn't use the system too.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    April 3, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    I'm not sure what SCFan and Mountainman are agreeing upon and enthusiastic about.

    It seems like their primary reaction is that liberals are hypocrites because there are wealthy liberals who also support campaigns, ala Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, etc.

    So, stepping back a couple of feet, is this a desirable situation?

    The Koch Brothers vs George Soros, and may the most polished & persuasive political / marketing teams win?

    With this ruling, certainly business interests and the wealthy will "invest" more in various political candidates to their liking, both Republican and Democrat.

    Should the LDS church open up its considerable coffers and monetarily support candidates that align with its positions?

    Besides some conservatives who are happy to point out the hypocrisy among some liberals, it seems the most elated people should be advertising executives and campaign strategists.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 3, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    If Republicans want to win elections,
    They need to come up with better ideas --

    Find ways to short-cut, sneak, jimmy and gerryrig our Political system to open bribery and financial obligations to financial "donors" --
    er, uh I need to be more clear here:
    King-men, Masters and Handlers, I should say.

    Sad Day for America.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 3, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    This ruling will throw another log on the populism fire that is brewing in our country. The masses will flock to those politicans who champion their needs not to the politicans with the richest supporters. Societies become more socialist as they mature, and America is on the same course. This ruling along with Citizens United soldifies the American poplulace to support candidates who protect and expand the social safety net. Billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers will be throwing their money away. Think Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or the numerous candidates they supported and how that worked out for them.

  • Cam Davis Las Vegas, NV
    April 3, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    I'm not surprised the DN supports the few oligarchs that run this country. It has decidedly done so for the past 20 years or so. I guess might makes right.

    This is why this country desperately needs a multiple party system. Political parties exist to lead the unknowing party dupes to support the rich donors. Time and time again congress votes in favor of the agenda of the rich few .... for the good of the country of course. However, the more political parties there are, the more of a chance the rest of us will have to actually have our agenda heard and followed. True competition in the political sphere is the only answer. So, here's to toppling the republicans and the democrats - the two parties of the rich.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 3, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    Campaign finance has always been was only unfair to the Democratic Libs yesterday when the SCOTUS leveled the playing field.........big money from foreign investors was given to Obama in 12 and others before. Now unions are not the only ones who can sway an election! This is a great article and they are spot on!

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    April 3, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Quotes taken directly from the SCOTUS opinion...

    "...Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests,and Nazi parades—despite the profound offense such spectacles cause—it surely protects political campaignspeech despite popular opposition...".

    The five conservative members associate money in politics with flag-burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades...

    The five conservative members define money in politics as political campaign speech.

    "...The line between quid pro quo corruption and general influence must be respected in order to safeguard basic First Amendment rights, and the Court must “err on the side of protecting political speech rather than suppressing it...".

    The line between quid pro quo corruption and general influence must be respected?

    The Court must err on the side of protecting quid pro quo corruption because some might equate general influence as quid pro quo corruption?

    14 April, 1970, an observer intoned... Houston... we have a problem...

    When the SCOTUS issues an opinion characterized by the thought processes attributed to direct quotes taken from the SCOTUS opinion...

    Critical thinking skills would determine...

    America...we have a problem...

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    April 3, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    Well, the DN proved once again that it is an organ of the Republican Party and favors plutocracy over democracy. My vote just got diluted again. Not that it was worth much in Utah anyway. Take the blinders off, folks.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 3, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but:

    Didn't the Gadianton Robbers;

    bribe Government officals with Money,
    Had them change the laws in their favor,
    Gave them the upper hand and political advantage,
    thereby taking sole control and Management of the Government OVER the People?

    and here we have the Deseret News SUPPORTING this?

    Is this the turning were the once good rightesou Nephites are finally seduced [ticked, lulled] into doing the bidding for the Gadianton's?

    And I thought it was bad when the Deseret News supported GW Bushs's Wars of OFFENSE,
    and supported his Patriot Act.

    All I can say is -- Woe unto this people!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 3, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    Don't stop at the idea that the decision is correct. Ask, too, if it will make things better. I fear it will not.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 3, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    @ SCfan: Well said, powerfully stated and you nailed it!

  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    April 3, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    From now on, expect all public policy in this country to cater to the interests of the very rich, and align your interests with theirs wherever you can. For instance, try to live on peanut butter sandwiches as much as possible to free up money to buy stock.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 3, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    "Today's decision will help ensure the robust political participation and debate that our nation's Founders envisioned." ~ Utah Senator Orrin Hatch


    You mean,
    The same Founding Fathers who fought a bitter bloody war to throw off the shackles of a system of Government made up entirely of the RICH and the priveleged?

    Who based our Nation on ALL being equal - rich and poor,
    and each CITIZEN [not Corporation] had 1 voice and 1 vote?

    I can hadly imagine the founding Fathers approving of Corporations and foreign influences via MONEY cannkering our entire political system as being GOOD.

    Please help me understand how more money, and more outside influence can possibly be a GOOD thing?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 3, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    @ Thid Barker, you are wrong about unions, parroting a tired deception from thge GOP. Unions do have limits, and besides, they are weaker now than at any point in our lifetimes. Perhaps this is why the middle class is losing and falling backwards for the first time perhaps in our country's history. I am amazed how some middle class people seem pleased with the rising disparity in income and wealth that is now ubiquitous. Those people don't care about you, Thid Barker, they use you and then they will crush you.

  • RickH Blaine, WA
    April 3, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    The typically deep and thoughtful comment by our "steamed" senator Orin Hatch regarding the latest Supreme Court antics leads one to ask an equally deep and thoughtful question: Where did Orin Hatch?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    April 3, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    If any issue shows the intellectual division between conservative and liberal, this is it. We live in America, where money rules everything. Yet, liberals seem to want government to regulate the money flow to the political arena. And Harry Reid. "The Koch Brothers are buying our democracy." Not George Soros. Not Steven Spielberg. Not Oprah Winfrey. Not George Clooney. Not Bill Gates. Not Warren Buffett. Not JayZ and Beyonce. Not Mark Zuckerberg. Not Teresa and John Kerry. Not the Kennedys. Not Jeffrey Katzenberg. Not David Geffin. Not, Not, Not........ NO, It's those Koch Brothers. What a laugh. When all those liberals agree to give up their billions in donatiions to politics and left wing political causes, then maybe I'll listen. Until then, say it with me, "Don't insult my intelligence Harry."

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 3, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    DesNews, surely you jest. You can't be serious. The only way you could agree with the Court is if you don't believe in a democracy where a well informed public makes decisions in their self-governance. The Court has perverted the notion of free speech, giving power to those with vast resources to control the public dialogue and manipulate the people. The threat to this country and to our freedom is coming like a train from the super rich, as they gain more control of public policy. They pretty much own Washington. They literally buy elections. They are centralizing money and power. Soviet Communism was never the threat to our freedom as this is - not even close. The fact that this newspaper supports the rise of the new Gadianton Robbers suggests that either you have been fooled, or you are part of the scheme. I am not some crazy extremist. I have experience directly in the centers of power, and I am not naive. I have no interest in advancing the interests of partisan interests. Mark this as a warning, Deseret News. This is a threat to all of us.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    April 3, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    Next up on the conservative agenda, personhood for money, and 1 vote per dollar of worth.

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    April 3, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    250 years only rich white men could vote. Welcome to the eighteenth century.

  • tdietsche St. Paul, MN
    April 3, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    You bet, we deserve the best political pawns that money can buy. Certainly a billionaire casino owner should be able to buy any right-wing Presidential candidate who agrees to make online gambling illegal, so that the profits of his casinos are not threatened. What could be more American than such a noble effort to get your own laws by buying the dupes who write them.

    And if you believe that, I have a Nigerian bank account that has been willed to you, just send me all your financial details. Come on people, you are being lied to and ripped off by the amoral upper class. They have no higher values than money in any way possible. Do you share those values, or do you have higher ethics than these greedy evil-doers?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 3, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    "Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers."

    "We can have democracy in this country, or great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
    (Louis Brandeis)

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 3, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    "Those who lament the SCOTUS's decision don't seem to mind that there is no limits on union donations to Democrats! They seem only concerned about who can donate to the GOP!"

    I don't see that. In fact I included unions in my post.

    I am for getting ALL big money out. That includes donations to either party by any entity. I believe that our political system would run much better if only individuals could make campaign donations, and they should be limited.

    Any liberals out there who think that Union contributions are ok, even though they strongly favor the dems? What say you?

    How about you Thid? Do you think unlimited corporate, individual or union money helps or hurts the system?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 3, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    We should appreciate this represents a new and terrible phase in our politics. With this concentration the process of becoming more like Chile and Argentina will accelerate. Think Chile del Norte. Think Pinochet. Think torture and the rest. Remember Chile is the country with the most top heavy distribution of wealth and power. We will close to that.

    Those who have so feared loss of freedom under Obama now will face a terrible irony. They will get constraints they have so feared, not primarily through Obama, but instead through the financial oligarchy to which they have paid scant attention.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 3, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    Elections can be bought and sold --
    via unlimited funding,
    from just about any source.

    And the Deseret News fully condones and supports this?

    I am shocked and stunned beyond all belief!

    [It's bad enough that American Billionaires can "donate" to causes without disgression. But, does this newspaper also realize that Billionaires in Communist China and Russia can form a U.S. "Corporation" and bribe and buy our elected officals with total impunity?! No, I didn't think so.]

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 3, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    Obviously it's time to get some sensible Big Hitters on board with financing PACS that promote reasonable solutions.

    Sure, Right Wingers have the Koch brothers and others who are always willing to advance some ridiculous Right Wing notions through applying a few million dollars here and there, but the obverse is true as well.

    It's time for DECENT influential people to start contributing to PACS, people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

    A few billion dollar strategically placed could be of tremendous help to this nation by countering the tremendous damage racked up by the Koch brothers and their kind.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 3, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    Senator Hatch said "Today’s decision will help ensure the robust political participation and debate that our nation’s Founders envisioned.”

    Joe Blow said "I sincerely doubt that the founders envisioned or would support the amount of corporate, union and lobby money in today's politics."

    I think Joe has possibly purposefully stumbled on what many believe is wrong with todays conservatism and that is it negates or denies 250 years of change and tries to interpret the constitution and laws as though the country was still a small, highly segregated, agrarian society.

    I not only think the founders would not support corporate, union, and lobby money in campaigns but I firmly believe they could never have imagined what todays society and economy would look like.

    Realizing that they created a document with flexibility that has served us well most of the time when the SCOTUS has been wise enough to realize this isn't the 1770's.

    With this decision and citizens united the SCOTUS has with it's originalism re-established the societal segregation that took others 200+ years to do away with.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 3, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    So --

    The Deseret News by supporting this ruling,
    feels that the more money a person has,
    the more Free Speech and more say so to the Government you have.

    That the "Open Book" policy is actually a CHECK book.

    I whole heartedly DISagree with the Deseret News on this.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    April 3, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    LoveleyDeseret makes a great point: the next domino to drop will be as Judge Thomas suggested - eliminating the limits on single candidates.

    In this new world where money = free speech, it's starting to become possible that laws against bribery could be struck down. When you think about it, bribery is just a communication between two parties, an agreement. It's just free speech.

    The old adage that "money talks" may no longer be relegated to TV shows about corruption - it may become a legally sanctioned way of doing business in politics.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 3, 2014 7:39 a.m.

    Those who lament the SCOTUS's decision don't seem to mind that there is no limits on union donations to Democrats! They seem only concerned about who can donate to the GOP!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 3, 2014 7:17 a.m.

    "The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all churches or organizations of whatever name or nature—whether political, philosophical, educational, economic social, fraternal, civic, or religious—which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God."


    The very few, ruling over the masses -- due to their riches?
    Unlimited Free Speech because of money and influence?

    Isn't this that very definition of Gadianton Robbers?

    And the Deseret News supports this?

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    April 3, 2014 6:43 a.m.

    Former BYU professor, and one of Utah's wisest men, Quinn McKay, has written and taught much on the law of obligation. Every time a political representative accepts a gift, he is obligated to reciprocate. How can more of this be good for the electoral process? The parallel examples of repugnant free speech offered by Chief Justice Roberts are apt. Voices will be heard - the loudest voices.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 3, 2014 4:09 a.m.

    I believe that the Citizens United Ruling is terrible for our country. However, I do not disagree that the ruling was correct.

    More money in politics is not a good thing.

    Mr hatch says "Today’s decision will help ensure the robust political participation and debate that our nation’s Founders envisioned.”

    I sincerely doubt that the founders envisioned or would support the amount of corporate, union and lobby money in today's politics.

    People argue over Citizens United. It is a done deal. I suggest a grass roots effort by both R and D to push for a constitutional amendment to limit the amount of money in politics.

    Seriously, who doesn't think that our country would run better if our politicians were not bought off?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 3, 2014 12:48 a.m.

    This decision will enhance the already overwhelming power of the tiny group of people who own most of the private wealth in the United States. It spells the end of what's left of participatory democracy by those of modest means. The massive media saturation by the right-wing wealthy (which you often quote) will drown any opposition to them, because it costs a lot of money to win an election. Even a little Utah house race can consume $20,000 easily. Anyone who has run for office (I have) knows that big donors pay for access - and they get it. The little guy can't pay for access - and doesn't get it. So what if the limit for one candidate is $2300. Funds are fluid and the wealthy can orchestrate an array of donations to maximum effect.

    I marvel at your position on this matter. You deal with legalisms. I study power and this represents a massive, truly massive, concentration of power.

  • RickH Blaine, WA
    April 3, 2014 12:26 a.m.

    Wow. The DN must have received a new supply of rose-colored glasses. Courtesy of Orrin Hatch?

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    April 3, 2014 12:12 a.m.

    Using the logic in this case, how than can you limit the amount of free speech on one candidate? Is that the next free speech/ campaign finance wall to be torn down?