February 18, 2010

You knew it was coming

We all realized that the SCOTUS decision in Citizens United was bound to open the floodgates in corporate attempts at manipulating regulatory policy.

It didn’t take long, either.

With the exit of Evan Bayh, Indiana’s centrist Democratic Senator, the playing field was open for a likely Republican win. The Republican candidate is former U.S. Senator and lawyer Dan Coats. Coats is a partner with King & Spalding, a law firm specializing in what they call “Government Advocacy.”

The Citizens United opinion was published January 21, 2010. The next day King & Spalding issued the following paper:

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: Sweeping Changes to Campaign Finance Laws Provide New Opportunities for Corporations to Engage in Election

From this paper we learn that “Going forward, a corporation may spend unlimited amounts of its treasury funds to directly engage in efforts to elect or defeat federal candidates through, for example, electronic and print advertisements and direct mail and other means of communicating its position on a candidate to the general public,” and that “every corporation should view the Citizens United decision as providing new tools to assist it in advancing policies and legislation that are in its and its shareholders’ interests.”

While I feared Citizens United would have dire consequences, I didn’t expect to see the effects of the decision quite so quickly, or quite so bluntly, either. Time will tell, but I can see nothing good coming from all of this.