Sero wrote:Could this be simplified into layman's terms?
For several decades it has been illegal for corporations to:
1) Donate to political campaigns
2) Pay for politicial advertisements for or against a candidate.
They had a slight end run around by forming Political Action Committees.
But PAC's had financial caps that people could donate.
For example a large company like GE has thousands of high paid employees (presidents, vice presidents)
Who would all contribute $5k Per year to the PAC ,and then that PAC( GE PAC) could give LIMITED donations to candidates. In addition they could create political ads that neither endorsed nor attacked any candidate. (think of Swiftboat veterans for truth or think about the healthcare ads against reform)
What this ruling means is:
1) Corporations CAN spend as much money as they like on advertisements either against or for candidates, all the way up untill election night.
"I am Ronald McDonald, and I would like to encourage you to vote for Sarah Palin. To do otherwise, would mean the end of democracy and tasty burgers"
worst case scenario:
A month before the election every single commerical you see on television is a corporation encouraging you to vote for or against a specific candidate.
Because candidates are 'public figures' this leaves a LOT of room for distortion and outright lying.
"Barack Obama acts exactly like Hitler" = legal.
While my examples are lame.... Picture Blue Cross Blue shield spending $500 million dollars and highly sophisticated, focus group approved, around the clock commercials explaining why voting for Sarah Palin is the only sane choice.
The only saving grace in this decision, is that full disclosure is still required. So by law, if a corporation spends money on or for a candidate, we get to know exactly who paid for it, and exactly how much.
Clarance Thomas was against disclosure in his concurring opinion. In which case you would have had the complete and utter nightmare of Super savvy thought provoking commericals explaining why a vote for Obama is a vote for Hitler -- brought to you by "The Patriotic California Citizens and Nuns Alliance of America" -- when in reality it was just an add paid in 100% by Exxon.