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Citizens United V. FEC: A Conspiracy Half a Century in the Making

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 01:42 AM
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Citizens United V. FEC: A Conspiracy Half a Century in the Making

The corporate media has painted the story of the SuperPACs as some kind of natural disaster. Their narrative goes something like this. That wild and whacky Supreme Court is at it again! Who would have guessed that they would overturn McCain Feingold and give corporations---and even foreign citizensthe right to donate suitcases full of money---anonymously---to help the Republican candidates of their choice? Wow! Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers sure lucked out this time!

But, what if it is not all a coincidence? What if the seemingly rogue Supreme Court was acting under orders---as if did in December 2000 with its infamous Bush v. Gore ruling? What if Republicans---in particular, Karl Rove---knew as far back as August, 2008, that SuperPACs would be legal by the 2010 election?

Please suspend your disbelief long enough to watch me connect some dots.

I. Bush FEC and Hans Von Spakovsky

Today, something occurred to me. How many times did the Bush Federal Election Commission attempt to stop private groups from spreading anti-Democratic propaganda? Come on. Name an FEC case that occurred between 2001 and 2008 that involved the Bush FEC trying to protect the rights of a Democratic candidate. I know you can think of one. It is the single most talked about FEC case of the last decade. Thats right. Citizens United vs. FEC Citizens United wanted to air anti-Hillary propaganda without naming their donors. They went to court to argue that the FEC was wrong in attempting to prevent them from airing anti-Hillary propaganda disguised as nonpartisan fact----

Hold on a second there. The Bush FEC told a right wing group Sorry guys. You cant air that. We have election laws in this country? In defense of Hillary Clinton? WTF?

The absolute absurdity of this made me run to my computer. And here is what I found.

In late 2005, Hans Von Spakovsky was nominated to the FEC by Bush as a recess appointment. He had to be a recess appointment, because he was totally unfit for the job of election fairness enforcer. Von Spakovsky came up with the idea of the phony felons list in Florida which cost Gore the election in 2000. Later, when he was a member of the Bush DOJs Voting Rights division, he rubber stamped the flawed Georgia Voter ID law, the one that DOJ lawyers and later the SCOTUS called an illegal poll tax.

What on earth was Bush---or rather, Bush Brain thinking when he tried to put Von Spakovsky on the FEC? Did he expect that this foe of voting rights would suddenly have a change of heart and become an advocate of fair elections? Or, was Von Spakovsky sent to the FEC to do something insidious, something that would make it easier for rich Americans to attack Democratic candidates in secret?

Once established as a member of the FEC, Von Spakovsky attempted to what Citizens United v. FEC later did----allow special interest groups to run ads attacking specific candidates close to elections.

In late 2006, Lindsay Renick Mayer reports in the Capital Eye that von Spakovsky authored a proposal that would craft certain exemptions to laws regarding what types of ads could be run within the 30 and 60 days prior to an election:
The Federal Election Commission rejected today a proposal that would have allowed labor unions, corporations and advocacy groups to broadcast ads close to an election that talk about issues but also identify candidates by name.

The 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) prohibited such ads but gave the FEC the ability to establish exemptions. The commission's current rule bans interest groups from using unlimited and undisclosed funds to run issue ads naming federal candidates within 60 days of general elections and 30 days of primary elections. Within the blackout period, interest groups can run such ads but must pay for them using limited political contributions from donors they disclose."

More here on Von Spakovskys attempt to push this emergency rule change in August, 2006, just months before the midterm elections.

Democrats on the FEC were not amused.

Von Spakovskys attempt to undo McCain Feingold with an administrative decree shows us that as far back as 2006, Karl Rove was scheming to make this years SuperPacs possible. Because, face it. Von Spakovsky was not going to fart without Turd Blossoms approval.

II. Citizens United and Republican Political Consultant Brian Berry

Now, I am going to switch gears for a moment and talk about Citizens United. This group is in the business of producing anti-Democratic propaganda disguised as educational material. Wiki has a list of their so-called documentaries.

Here is Open on the leadership of Citizens United. Please scroll down to Brian Berry . Recognize the name? Probably not, unless you pay a lot of attention to GOP politics. In 2004, he made the list of most influential Republican political consultants at number 3.

Note that Berry and Karl Rove worked together on a Bush campaign.
Citizen United is clearly part of the Bush/Rove gang.

In December, 2007, Citizens United (aka Bushs Brain's buddy from Texas) went to U.S. District Court in DC to complain that the FEC would not let it air its anti-Hillary attack ad. Theirs appears to have been a pre-emptive attack.

Predictably, the U.S. District Court in DC was not amused. What must have come as more of shock to observers was the US Supreme Courts Aug. 2008 decision to hear the case on appeal. The rest is, of course, history.

III. TARP and Roves $700 Billion Super Slush Fund

But wait! It gets even more complicated. In September, 2008, just one month after the far right wing SCOTUS breathed new life into Roves hope for SuperPACs, then President George W. Bush got on national TV and told us that life as we knew it in the United States would end---if we did not give $700 billion to the banksters. In the process, Bush (and his brain) created the slush fund to end all slush funds. What? You did not consider the possibility that TARP was intended to be a GOP slush fund for future elections? Some folks did. I did. Here is a link to my DU Journal from Sept, 2008.

Think that the Bush administration would not use tax payer money designated for a national emergency in order to further the Republican political agenda? You must not have been paying attention to what Karl Rove was up to during the time that he was in charge of the Katrina reconstruction funds.
Me, Sept. 2008

So, guess what industry has received hundreds of billions of dollars and loads of favors from Democrats but has still decided to give almost all its money to Republican candidates this year? Wall Street and the Banking Industry, a group that traditionally donates equally to both parties. Where did these folks get the money they are donating to the GOP? From us, the U.S. taxpayer. And just a month before the Bush administration decided to create that enormous slush fund, the Supreme Court had indicated that it would be more than willing to overturn key portions of Mccain Feingold.

Sure pays to plan ahead! Thanks to that $700 billion bailout, Rove knew that he would have plenty of money available if/when his dream of SuperPACs came true.

IV. Brooks Brother Riots to Tea Parties

Some other folks were planning ahead as well. We all know that the Koch Brothers, the nations wealthiest oil family, is behind the Tea Parties. But, did you know that the Republican operatives behind the so called Brooks Brothers Riot in Florida, 2000, later went to work for the Koch Family. Here is the journal I wrote about them on Independence Day 2009.

I mention this to show that the Koch Family and Bushs Brain are joined at the hip.

See. Hillary was right. There really is a vast right wing conspiracy. And it almost certainly involves the Supreme Court---or at least Scalia.

V. The Supreme Court of the United States and Scalia

In 2000, Scalia broke the law by making a judgment in a case ( Bush v. Gore ) based upon the identities of the parties in the case. And he persuaded four other Justices to do the same thing. In 2010, Scalia again broke the law by using the power of the court to rewrite McCain-Feingold---and again he persuaded four Justices to go along with him.

Within days of the ruling, GOP dirty elections trickster Von Spakovsky was praising the Supreme Court for doing what he was unable to accomplish. In particular, he lauded the Court for allowing corporations unlimited free speech rights. On line at the Heritage Foundation. Where all the nations CEOs were most likely to notice it. /

I can just imagine the reaction of the Wall Street execs, the oil barons and the Health Insurance CEOs. Hot damn! Weve got this election in the bag! Where can I go to donate money?

The ink was hardly dry on the ruling, before the SuperPACS began collecting cash. Worse yet, we now know that Scalia and Thomas are BFFs with the Koch Brothers.

The Koch Family is fairly new to the suitcases of cash game. The U.S. Chambers of Commerce has been bankrolling Republicans (often behind the scenes) for over a decade.

VI U.S. Chambers of Commerce and Thomas J. Donohue

From Source Watch

On October 31, 2006, Public Citizen filed a complaint<21> with the IRS asking it to investigate whether the Chamber and "its affiliated Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) failed to report millions in taxable spending from 2000 to 2004 intended to influence state-level attorney general and supreme court races and federal races around the country."<22>
It also asked the IRS to investigate whether Chamber and the ILR, "which are two separate legal entities, combined funds in a shared bank account to hide accurate reporting of investment or interest income for tax avoidance. ... Court records, internal corporate documents and media reports indicate that the Chamber and the ILR engaged in a massive campaign to affect the outcome of state and federal races through direct expenditures and grants made to organizations that carried out the Chambers wishes."<22>
Public Citizen reported that<22>
"In 2000, the Chamber claimed it spent $6 million on judicial races and took credit for winning 15 out of 17 state supreme court contests. In 2002, the Chamber said it planned to spend $40 million on political campaigns, divided equally between congressional and state-level attorneys general and judicial races. None of these activities were reported on their tax returns from 2000 to 2003.
"In 2004, the first year since at least 2000 that the Chamber and the ILR reported political expenditures, both organizations appear to have underreported their spending. They reported a combined $18 million, but in a 'President's Update' memo released the day after the November elections, Chamber President Thomas Donohue claimed the group had spent up to $30 million in races around the country.
"The Chamber and ILR also failed to report grants and allocations to outside groups as required by Line 22 of IRS Form 990. Both organizations reported no grants to outside groups from 2000 to 2004. But in a 2005 deposition, a Chamber official acknowledged that the Chamber had partnered with at least six outside groups to advance its agenda to avoid garnering unwanted critical attention. At least two 501(c) organizations, the Washington-based American Taxpayers Alliance and the Columbus-based Citizens for a Strong Ohio, reported receipt of contributions from the U.S. Chamber."

Source Watch calls this a shell game. Breaking the law to finance candidates is a piece of cake if your candidates control the DOJ. It becomes more problematic if the opposition enforces the law. The U.S. Chambers of Commerce would have found their hands tied this year---if not for the Supreme Courts timely ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC .

Donohue, president of the organization, started a shit storm in 2009 when he decided to make global warming a top priority of the Chambers. No, he did not want to fight global warming. He wanted more of it---as in more burning of fossil fuels and more carbon emissions. Predictably, some corporations left the Chambers in disgust. What is good for oil is not necessarily good for anyone else.

What is good for oil is good for Rove and his cabal of Texas Republicans, however. And everything worked out happily ever after for Donohue, since the Supreme Court has enabled him to spend vast amounts of oil---and health insurance and drug company and Wall Street---money attempting to overturn the 2008 elections.

Note that these are the industries which I called Vampire Capitalists in a recent journal. Three are essentially undead businesses. Oil supplies will run out in a few years. Eventually, health care will be socialized in this country. Runaway spending under Medicare Part D will be reined in. So, those three groups have to make all the money they can right now
The Banksters? They are always crooked.

I want to say one final word about Donohue---reported to be a close friend of Rove. You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keepsand his reading material. According to one author, Donohue is a big fan of the Powell Memo.

The Powell memo, named after Lewis Powell, its author- whom Nixon later rewarded with a judgeship - was written in 1971 to the then-director committee at the Chamber,Eugene B. Sydnor. The document essentially argued for a fascist take-over of politics by big business through dirty tricks, front groups designed to influence domestic policy, media ownership and propaganda, and a whole lot more. Powell was himself on the board of 11 different corporations at the time of its authoring.

A conspiracy almost half a century in the making. Will we never lay to rest to ghost of Richard Nixon?
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Angry Dragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 01:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R& Bookmark
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 03:11 AM
Response to Original message
2. knr. i didn't know the brooks bros gang were working w/ koch.
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OlympicBrian Donating Member (456 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 04:37 AM
Response to Original message
3. Conspiracy? more like a well-planed re-birth of the US government...
Edited on Wed Oct-27-10 04:55 AM by OlympicBrian
"US corporatocracy" - the system of government that serves the interests of, and is essentially run by, corporations. It primarily seeks to further ties between government and business--where corporations, multi-national corporations, conglomerates, and private parties including highly-paid corporate executives and political organizations are the primary control. Areas of control span from direction and governance to contrived mass-media visages of elements, ideas, and persons within the country.

Major activities include carrying out economic planning notwithstanding the 'free market' label. A tiny elite group benefits financially from the system, at the same time they are granted tax-free mechanisms. Because the major interests served in the system are corporate-related, the general welfare of the country suffers. As a result of the massive disparity in distribution of wealth within the consumer-driven economy, demand necessarily relies on easy credit, and/or economic bubbles. The US Treasury is used as a credit card for the tiny elite, through a series of complex transactions and events which obfuscate--but ultimately leave the taxpayer and our children bearing the full impact.

The corporatocracy relies on communist China (and other foreign) underpinnings for sources of cheap production, labor, and credit--and possibly also on communist Chinese political influence channeled through anonymous political organizations. In addition, as a recent development, the system increasingly ensnares the US judicial branch within its overall goals. In fact, the judicial system enhances the finances of the system and protects the corporatocracy as if it had the same--if not more--rights than the individual; it does so against the will of 80 percent of the people. "Unlimited, anonymous funds" afforded to corporate donations results in a huge "multiplier effect" on speech--a fact apparently not accounted for in the CU decision.

Moreover, at the nucleus of the system is an unelected body, extremely well-financed through unknown entities--the US Chamber of Commerce--which is becoming increasingly involved in corporate, media, electoral, legislative (lobbying), and judicial activities. Therefore, the corporatocracy achieves an unprecedented fusion of formerly separate powers, in spite of the fundamental principles of separation upon which America was founded.

In short--we have one great beast--no longer with checks and balances, and no longer for the American people.
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dotymed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Exactly
America is inarguably a Fascist nation. How long before the masses wake-up? Unless they actually experience real "people governed societies", probably never. IMO, the military, because of their foreign travel and postings are one of the few hopes that average Americans realize that our government is not a "beacon of democracy.
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OlympicBrian Donating Member (456 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. I meant "well-planned" rather than "well-planed" but both kinda fit!
plane 2 (pln)
2. A trowel-shaped tool for smoothing the surface of clay, sand, or plaster in a mold.
v. planed, planing, planes

In other words, if we've been "planed" then we've been "tooled."
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pgodbold Donating Member (953 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
5. I think this is the single most depressing text I have ever read. God help us all. nt
Edited on Wed Oct-27-10 09:04 AM by pgodbold
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SalviaBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. k and r
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GETPLANING Donating Member (370 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
7. Excellent work
McCamy Taylor is one of my favorite journalists.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
9. What a brilliant piece. I sincerely hope you flesh this out
with at least a few thousand more words and aim it for someplace like Rolling Stone (if they publish indies), the Nation, or The Progressive.

You have a book on your hands here if you care to do it.
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