Since the infamous Citizens United decision, corporations have been handed a blank check to buy federal elections, and now the attorney who led that legal battle is taking aim at state campaign laws.
If he wins, laws blocking corporate contributions in nearly half the nation’s states could be overturned.
And so it becomes clear, in part at least, why the GOP block Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
They want it all.
From the Associated Press:
A case involving political “dark money” and the founder of an organization tied to President Donald Trump’s accusations of voter fraud could lead to a crush of anonymous cash infiltrating elections in the country’s second-largest state, a Democratic lawyer warned the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The nine Republican justices on Texas’ highest civil court heard arguments involving the legality of the state’s ban on corporate contributions, disclosure requirements for political action committees and the question of when a politically active nonprofit should have to disclose its donors like a traditional PAC. Some believe that the case ultimately could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court and potentially reshape campaign finance regulations nationwide.
Houston tea party group King Street Patriots, started by Catherine Engelbrecht, has been the focus of a longstanding lawsuit by the Texas Democratic Party accusing the organization of violating state campaign finance laws by engaging in political behavior when it dispatched poll watchers on behalf of the Texas Republican Party during the 2010 election.
But the nonprofit, represented by Indiana attorney James Bopp Jr. — architect of the landmark Citizens United case that opened the door for corporations and unions to make unlimited independent expenditures in U.S. elections — has fired back with a counterclaim challenging numerous provisions of Texas campaign finance law.
Twenty-two states currently prohibit corporations from contributing money to campaigns and candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas has no limit on what individuals or political committees can donate to candidates. Corporations statewide, however, are barred from giving money directly to a campaign, though they are allowed to contribute to a political committee set up for a ballot measure or to a state-level Super PAC, which is only allowed to make expenditures independent of candidates.