In the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down Montana’s century-old campaign finance law, Governor Brian Schweitzer is warning that corporate interests across the country “are going to own everything from the White House to the courthouse.”
The court's 5-4 ruling extended the logic of the 2010 Citizens United decision, giving corporations the right to spend unlimited sums on independent expenditure campaigns. Schweitzer, a Democrat, joined Ed Schultz to bring home just how far-reaching the decision’s implications could be.
“We’ve had 100 years of clean elections,” Schweitzer said. “And now the Supreme Court back there in Washington D.C., they think they know better for us in Montana.”
He went on:
They tell us we have to accept dirty, secret, corporate, and even foreign money, pouring into Montana, taking over everything from the courthouse all the way to the statehouse. And I’ll tell you this, until we get this reversed, the corporate interests—and they will be foreign corporate interests as well—they are going to own everything from the white house to the courthouse. That’s what’s in store for us.
Schweitzer said until now in his state, legislators could spend around $2000-5000 to get elected, making it possible for ordinary citizens to run for office and to fund grassroots campaigns. But now those days are likely over.
“Lets face it: Money is power,” Schweitzer continued. “Money buys television advertisements. And if you have enough money buying enough television advertisements, you can sway the election. Not just sway, buy. And so there is not going to be the other side of the story.”
Schweitzer went on to explain just how profoundly the court's decision could change Montana politics:
Today, we have a two-party system. Well, in the future we’ll have a two-party system as well: The corporate party, and the corporate-lite party. Because anybody who stands up to the dirty, secret, even foreign corporation money, they’ll squash you like a bug. The big pharmaceutical companies, the military-industrial complex, the insurance companies, if anybody stands up to ‘em, they’ll drop a million or two million or ten million, whatever it takes, and they’ll put you right out of business. And that voice for the people will be lost.