Young Guns Bribe Legislators With Ads

"Vote with us and we'll buy ads in your district." This is the new bribery scheme hatched by Eric Cantor and the tea party corporations standing at the ready with plenty of cash to help them get re-elected.

It follows the conservative plan as outlined to the FEC to run ads on behalf of candidates which mention them by name in connection with an issue, so that it at least appears to be an "issue ad" which 501(c)(4) organizations like the YG Network which ran the radio spot above can use as leverage to buy their politicians' votes.

Think Progress:

Essentially, YG Network is saying that it will reward members who vote as they wish with “independent” expenditures on their behalf. Because the 501(c)(4) tax-exempt group is technically independent of Cantor, it can provide a significant carrot that the Republican Leader cannot offer himself.

While likely legal, Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center told ThinkProgress “many would characterize the way Washington politics has long worked as ‘legalized bribery.’” He observed that this is exactly what the 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court made possible by its Citizens United ruling:

When you allow unlimited special interest money in politics, this type of behavior should be expected. Criticism is fair, but never the less, its predictable. This is the world that this Supreme Court majority has given us with the Citizens United decision. It’s troubling, but entirely predictable.

Even more troubling is the likelihood of conversations behind closed doors — threats of huge corporate-funded independent spending campaigns made [for those who don't act in the corporation's interest on a given piece of legislation]. And much of it, we will never hear about.

Because the radio ad does not explicitly say "Vote for Vicky Hartzler," it falls within the FEC guidelines for independent expenditure ads by outside groups, and even though it is technically not coordinated with Eric Cantor, a public vote against any tax increases is the only gesture a Congressman needs to win an ad, paid for by unnamed oligarchs intent on preserving their wealth.

As the Supreme Court considers whether to hear Montana's challenge to the Citizens United case, I truly hope they're paying attention to how it is being abused.


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