Sanders: Freedom Of Speech Does Not Mean Freedom To Buy The Government

Once again, it's Sen. Bernie Sanders out there fighting the good fight and standing up for what's left of our democracy. Sadly we can't say the same for our United States Supreme Court:

Once again, it's Sen. Bernie Sanders out there fighting the good fight and standing up for what's left of our democracy. Sadly we can't say the same for our United States Supreme Court: The Shutdown, the Koch Brothers, the Court and the Tea Party:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard a case that could give the wealthy an even bigger role in American elections. Sen. Bernie Sanders sat in on the oral arguments in McCutcheon vs. FEC, the case that the court could use to further erode campaign finance laws and extend its controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling which opened the floodgates on campaign spending by corporations and wealthy individuals. “Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government,” Sanders told a rally outside the Supreme Court after the one-hour oral argument.

Taking advantage of the Citizens United ruling, the billionaires Charles and David Koch and other wealthy individuals have provided financial backing for the movement that forced a now week-old government shutdown, according to The New York Times. Some House Republicans, Sanders said, have gone along with their party’s right-wing Tea Party wing to fend off well-funded primary challenges.

“We are living in a society where a handful of people with incredible sums of money like the Koch brothers and others, are undermining what this democracy is supposed to be about,” Sanders said. “Right now, as we speak, in the House of Representatives there are people who are being threatened that if they vote for a clean CR [continuing resolution to reopen the government] that huge sums of money will be spent against them in the next election,” Sanders said.

At issue in the new case is a limit on how much donors may give to all candidates and political organizations during a two-year federal election cycle. The cap now is $123,200. That includes a separate $48,600 limit on contributions to individual candidates during 2013 and 2014. A separate $2,600 limit on how much one individual may give to any specific candidate for Congress in any election is not directly at stake in this case.

Sanders said the court’s previous ruling in Citizens United resulted in a record $7 billion being spent in the 2012 election cycle, including at least $400 million by the Koch brothers alone.

Sanders has proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn that ruling. His amendment and a companion measure in the House by Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida would make it clear that the right to vote and the ability to make campaign contributions and expenditures belong only to real people. The amendment would effectively prevent corporations from bankrolling election campaigns. Congress and states would have specific authority to regulate campaign finances by, for example, limiting donations, requiring disclosure of donors or creating public-financing systems for campaigns. [...]

To read the constitutional amendment, click here.

For a fact sheet on the amendment, click here.

Here's more from PoliticusUSA: Bernie Sanders Storms The Supreme Court to Stop the Koch Brothers Theft of Democracy:

At a rally outside the Supreme Court, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took on the Koch brothers and said, “Freedom of speech does not equal freedom to buy the United States government.”

Sen. Sanders said,

In the long history of our country people have fought and died for democracy. Democracy means one person, one vote. The fact that all of us have the opportunity to be involved in the political process to stand up for what we believe in. Three years ago, or so the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people. They decided that through independent expenditures billionaires could spend unlimited sums of money to impact elections.

Let me say one word to you right now about how relevant that is. As all of you know, the government of the United States shut down. Hundreds of thousands of workers are suffering, millions of people are not getting the services they need. Right now, as we speak, in the House of Representatives there are people who are being threatened that if they vote for a clean CR to open the government without destroying the Affordable Care Act then huge sums of money will be spent against them in the next election.

We are living in a society where a handful of people with incredible sums of money, folks like the Koch brothers and others, are undermining what this democracy is supposed to be about. The bottom line here is that if we do not want to move this nation to an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires can determine the outcome of these elections, then it is imperative not only that we overturn Citizens United, but that we put a lid on how much people can contribute in elections.

Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government

Sen. Sanders was present at the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the case of McCutcheon vs. FEC. The Supreme Court will deciding the fate of the caps that limit how much donors can give to candidates and political organizations during a two year election cycle later in this term.

If the Supreme Court rules the caps unconstitutional, it will allow conservative billionaires to spend even more money in their attempt to execute a hostile takeover of the United States government. Read on...

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