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posted: 4/17/2014 12:01 AM

All for sale to the highest bidder

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All for sale to the highest bidder

The Supreme Court's disastrous decision on Citizens United in 2010 and now McCutcheon vs FEC on April 2 will make the lives of the Koch brothers and Sheldon Edelson easier and more profitable, while the lives of the rest of society will be squelched ... in the voting booth, in Congress and in state houses all over the country.

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In the 2012 elections, the Kochs gave $407 million and Edelson gave $98 million and both will double down for the 2016 elections. The Kochs are now giving big money to school boards and county boards to influence members to get what they want.

The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court said that "corporations are people and money is speech." Now corporations can give unlimited amounts of money to candidates and political parties and buy TV ads against the opposition. This isn't just about welfare for the corporatists and wealthy, it's about corruption -- unfair leverage and power over those not in their "elite" club. Unions give money to politicians too, but their contributions pale in comparison.

Now the Supreme Court has given millionaires and billionaires in the McCutcheon decision the ability to give $3.6 million to buy our politicians per election cycle in the name of "free speech."

Does "free speech" mean that politics is about smearing the opposition? Does it mean the very wealthy have an unfair advantage and influence at the expense of the rest of us? Does it mean that big bucks can overpower good candidates who want to represent middle class citizens?

Where are the fundamental "free speech" rights of those without bank accounts in the millions? The legacy of this Supreme Court will be that they have destroyed Democracy, giving us a "free-market democracy" -- everything is for sale to the highest bidder.

Joni Lindgren

Elgin

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