by Robert Reich
Sunday, November 27, 2011
A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum: It was hijacked.
According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech, and corporations are now people.
Yet when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances – clubbed, pepper-sprayed, thrown out of public parks and evicted from public spaces.
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year ended all limits on political spending. Now millions of dollars are being funneled to politicians without a trace.
The limits were eroding even before Citizens United. For years, large corporations have been flooding Washington with lobbyists who bundle individual contributions into a formidable war chest, bankrolling more and more lawmakers’ campaigns.