New e-mails released from Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail account by the State Department late on Monday show that the then–secretary of state was furious over the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, blaming mysterious “forces” for orchestrating the January 2010 ruling and plotting with shadow adviser Sidney Blumenthal about ways to overturn it.
Two days after the Court’s January 21, 2010, decision — which cited the First Amendment in its decision to overturn aspects of campaign-finance laws that restricted the political spending of organizations — Blumenthal forwarded to Clinton an article from the Center for Public Integrity. The piece postulated that the new ruling would allow foreign leaders to sway American elections through donations from U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies.
“This is unbelievable,” Clinton replied to Blumenthal. “Or maybe totally so given the forces at work.” She gave no further hint as to what “forces” she was referring to.
The two sent several e-mails back and forth trying to devise a plan of attack against the 5–4 ruling. “Getting a legislative fix might be a good initiative for [President Obama’s State of the Union address],” Blumenthal said. “Let the Republicans try to oppose it.”
“Not sure if there is a legislative fix,” Clinton sent back. “Haven’t read the opinion yet. May require a constitutional amendment.”
#share#“Some groups going for amendment but foreign [corporations] may be low hanging fruit,” Blumenthal replied. “Don’t know, an idea to investigate.”
“Agreed,” Clinton said. Blumenthal urged her to talk to Harold Koh, a longtime legal adviser for the Clinton family who had followed her to the State Department. “You have people somewhere who can explore this.”
Blumenthal also a sent a paragraph from Justice John Stevens’s dissent, excoriating his fellow Justices and wondering whether the ruling also gave corporations the right to vote. “Good for him. I wish he were 50 instead of 90!” Clinton exclaimed. “Me too,” Blumenthal said. “He shouldn’t retire.” Stevens retired six months later.
#related#Although President Obama came out swinging against the decision during his State of the Union address a few day later — prompting some Justices to boycott future speeches — Clinton remained largely silent on the issue for years. She didn’t openly declare her opposition to Citizens United until April 2015, after she’d already announced her candidacy. In May, she said she’d use opposition to Citizens United as a litmus test for any Supreme Court nominee.
The Ready for Hillary Super PAC — founded under the new Citizens United rules — raised $15 million for the Clinton campaign before it was disbanded early this summer following her presidential announcement.
— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter with National Review.