Bench Memos

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Next Up: Congress


Examing the congressional reaction to Citizens United v. FEC, we start with the always entertaining Alan Grayson, who last week preemptively introduced a package of bills with such bombastic titles as “The Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act,” the “Defund the Crooks Act,” and the “Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act.” One would impose a 500 percent tax on any corporate political spending. Another would prohibit trading in any company that refused to abide by the pre-Citizens United law.

That these proposals are clearly unconstitutional doesn’t matter much to Mr. Grayson, who only has eleven months left in Congress to make his reputation and gain that slot guest hosting for Keith Olbermann. It’s highly doubtful they could ever pass, anyway.

In a more serious effort, so-called reform groups have pledged $4 million to using the Citizens United decision to press for passage of what’s called the “Fair Elections Now Act,” which would provide for government funding of congressional campaigns. And here, they may have the votes, at least to move something in the House. 

– Bradley A. Smith Josiah H. Blackmore II/ Shirley M. Nault designated professor of law at Capital University Law School.


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