Bench Memos

Begala’s Cloddish Appeal

In an attempt, perhaps, to be “relevant,” the DCCC sent out an e-mail today signed by Paul Begala. It begins:

Do you hear that pop-pop-popping sound off in the distance?

The good news is, it ain’t gunfire. The bad news is, it’s corporate lobbyists and their Republican lapdogs popping champagne corks and dancing on what’s left of the Constitution.

They’re celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to allow giant corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to target any member of Congress who dares cross them.

It’s no exaggeration to say the very foundation of our democracy will be under attack once the tidal wave of corporate money floods into campaigns on the side of Republican candidates.

In truth, the Court confronted the question of whether corporate money for political speech is just as protected as corporate money spent on speech contained in art, commerce, or education. And while I believe that is the only defensible course to take, I would remind people that we may not be able to predict how, or even weather, the decision changes the balance of power in D.C., or in state campaigns.

Is this the most outrageous claim post-Citizens United?  Sadly, no.  One reform group insists that Citizens United will allow foreign money to buy campaigns.  Which it won’t, but in the dust cloud of hysteria currently clogging the air, who’s checking?

 – Allison Hayward teaches election law at George Mason University.

Allison R. Hayward — Nina Owcharenko is a senior policy analyst for health care at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies.