Monday, February 01, 2010

Frankenly, My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn

Okay, so Al Franken is going to protect us from foreign corporations from taking over our elections. [Insert obligatory twirling finger here] I'm generally unconcerned except people might actually believe him when he says:

"Since 1974, federal law has banned foreign companies from giving or spending in American elections. Nothing in our current laws, however, explicitly prohibits foreign companies from creating American subsidiaries or getting control of American companies and using them to flood the airwaves in support of their preferred candidates. Citizens United gives companies unlimited power to do that - and does not distinguish between American companies and companies that are owned or controlled by foreign interests.

Obviously the comedian senator doesn't read my blog. I realize the President is probably far too busy to fact check his State of the Union Address, but Franken should have more time on his hands. But just in case it wasn't clear before...

The Supreme Court did not rule on the portion of the law that deals with foreign entities being prohibited from expenditures on political messages or direct contributions. It's still in effect. It wasn't thrown out by the Court. They addressed another section of the law entirely that deals with domestic entities.

You can find the court's note on this in Kennedy's opinion for the Court here. It's in section III, B, 4:

We need not reach the question whether the Government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation’s political process.

But but but... what if they have a subsidiary here! Obama and Franken seem to think that just having a corporate foot in the door here opens foreign control of our elections!

Well that's wrong.

The law that prevented them from doing so before still prevents them from doing so now. The Court referenced that law when noting they weren't addressing the question of foreign expenditures, direct or indirect, which are already banned.

But, but, but... that just talks about foreign nationals, not corporations! I read your stupid link!

No, you only read part of it. If you notice how foreign principles are defined in the link on that page you'll see it includes foreign and foreign based corporations, organizations, etc as well.

They're already banned. Subsidiaries of foreign corporations are already banned. If you think this is just some weird personal interpretation I pulled out of my butt, you don't have to take my word on it, the FEC has long agreed with me. See their interpretation and implementation of the law here at their website (page 86): Federal Election Campaign Laws: Compiled by the Federal Election Commission

Franken changing the law to say it twice won't change a damn thing.

BUT! It will help justify the irrational hysteria about the Supreme Court decision by giving the appearance the Court was so "out of touch" that they actually allowed such a thing (even though they didn't).

So I could care less if he makes it law two, three, a million times over. But doing it purely to help confuse the American public so they don't look like idiots for freaking out over nothing, including their current White House occupant in front of the entire nation... well that's just politics. Oh, and dishonest repugnant politics, in case that wasn't obvious.

Change! Ha!

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