This is the Supreme Court ruling that started the snowballing effect of the bribing system. The ruling means that it doesn't matter what you have to say you can only say it if you have enough money to say it.
The Supreme Court decided in the Citizens United decision of 2010 that bribery of politicians by big corporations and billionaires is perfectly legal.
We have a corrupt political system where anyone who has the money to bribe politicians can start a Super PAC. Politicians can start their own Super PAC to take bribes. Super PACs help fund campaigns to the point that have unlimited amounts of money to elect candidates. It is an absurd situation with Super PACs frequently spending more money than the candidates themselves.
Groups behind Trump's Supreme Court picks spent easily over $50 million in secret money to get them appointed. Mostly in the form of Dark Money so the amount is probably much greater. Of course, the payback to the Bribers in court rulings in their favor makes that money look like peanuts.
The corrupt Republicans on the US Supreme Court repeatedly say that money is the same thing as speech, and therefore, it is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Corporations are the same thing as people, therefore corporations (instead of people) are protected by the Bill of Rights. This is so wrong, it actually goes against what the Constitution says. It currently is a broken system, we have to overturn Citizens United and we have to reclaim our sovereignty as a nation.
The problem is money rules in America. This goes against what the Founding Fathers intended when they signed the Declaration Of Independence and the Constitution. The “Original Intent” of the Founding Fathers was, and is, that all citizens are “Created Equal” and have Equal Rights. Not that money rules.
It takes a lot of money to fund a challenge at the Supreme Court. This was not the intent of the Founders, just the opposite, that all citizens have equal access to justice. It takes millions of dollars to bring anything before the Supreme Court, money the average citizen or group of citizens doesn't possess. So you've got these right-wing billionaires and their ideologues who have been willing to pour literally hundreds of millions of dollars into stacking the court and bringing cases to the court, They employ “Think Tanks” to write legal briefs to the courts pretending to be concerned citizens.
The original purpose for lobbying is good. The Citizens United decision has subverted lobbying by money. The original process of influencing (lobbying) public and government policy by the citizens for a positive change is necessary and a good endeavor. Meeting with a representative and laying out facts for or against something is good. Giving a politician money or favors was never intended to be used as a means of intimidation. This sounds crazy but currently, if you meet with your Representative over lunch you can not buy him/her a hamburger; that would be considered a bribe. But if give him/her a million dollars under the table; it is not considered a bribe. Only the rich are allowed to bribe Politicians. Under the current laws and Supreme Court decisions, illegal corruption is only if someone stuffs cash in an envelope and exchanges it for explicit favors — but not most soft forms that the Bribers use to purchase influence and access. Industries can use super PACs and “independent expenditures” to effectively bankroll the campaigns of compliant legislators — as long as the quid pro quo is not explicitly written down.
Here is a well-known event: In 2018 the Republicans sought a bribe from Billionaire Sheldon Adelson. The legal bribe was made when, according to two senior Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan flew to Las Vegas to meet with the billionaire at his Venetian Hotel. Also with Ryan was Corry Bliss, who oversees the super PAC; and Jake Kastan, Ryan's No. 2 political aide. They laid out a case to Adelson about how crucial it is to protect the House. As a federally elected official, Ryan is not permitted to solicit seven-figure political donations. When Ryan (R-Wis.) left the room, Coleman ask and secured the $30 million contribution. So Ryan didn't directly ask for $30 million, but he made the entire case for it. Paul Ryan, at the time the country's second most powerful elected official, promptly leaves the room so the bride could be made. The Republican Supreme Court rulings say this is perfectly legal.
During the 2022 election candidates and Political Action Committees (PACs) spent nearly 17 billion dollars on state and federal campaigns. This does not include the hidden money in massive amounts to the Republican Party and candidates. The Republicans and the Corporate Media enjoy telling the public that in some races Democratic candidates were able to outspend Republican candidates. What they don't tell you is that Republicans outspent the Democrats by an estimated ten to one margin in unreported “dark money.” The money reported came in the form of small donations from the average citizen to Democratic candidates. The people overwhelmingly voted with their pocketbooks for Democrats. But the Republicans won because the “dark money” flooded the Corporate Media during the final two weeks with attack advertising full of lies and fear to change some people to vote for them. The big difference between the two parties is the source of all that money, whether it comes from small-dollar donations or big money from mega-rich buying politicians. During the 2022 election cycle of the top twenty-five donors, eighteen of the largest givers are Republican. Of the reported money the Republicans outspent Democrats by 200 million dollars, when you calculate the “Dark Money” given to Republicans they have outspent the Democratic candidates by billions of dollars. Billionaires make up 20% of the total Republican donations compared with 14.5% of Democratic donations. The only major reason why they give publicly to the Democrats is to give the appearance of equality.
Some Billionaires will even make donations openly because of their ego. Like Peter Thiel the billionaire Republican mega-donor gave over 32 million dollars in the races of just two of his former employees; J.D. Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona. Three billionaires shelled out nearly 20 million dollars to Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson's reelection campaign. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision from 2010 paved the way for corporations and outside groups to spend limitless money on elections in secret. They can spend limitless amounts of money to tilt the bias in favor of the Republicans, thereby denying the public a fair election. Making the average person feel like there is not much that can be done about it.
The original justification for campaign finance laws was to prevent the bribing of politicians. The idea was that a billionaire who just says “I'm going to sponsor a US senator” was illegal because it's obvious that politician is going to be beholding to that billionaire when he/she gets in office. This is a huge concern, and it actually is now even worse, because the billionaire isn't just picking a particular candidate but the billionaire is going to Republican Party and essentially saying “I'll buy all of you.” We'll dump $20 million into this race, will dump $20 million into that race and nobody will ever see who we are because we've hidden behind phony front groups. But you, the elected Republicans, and I, the billionaire, will know who you owe. The deal is that you're going to make damn sure you (the Republican Politician) do not do any legislation I (the Billionaire) don't approve of, and by the way, you (the Republican Politician) must give me (the Billionaire) lucrative government contracts so I can keep pouring billions of dollars back to in donations. We don't want the public to have a chance to understand cheating that is really going on.
The reporting about the size of these dark money investments is well known but not talked about by the Republicans. Leonard Leo, a big conservative money rainmaker responsible for putting the six corrupt judges on the Supreme Court. One of the biggest conservative dark money organizations last year by two separate anonymous gifts each totaling more than $425 million dollars. That organization, DonorsTrust, used those funds to support a vast network are prominent conservative causes, including a $17.1 million dollar gift it made to The 85 Fund, a group founded by the major engine of the conservative movement. These are enormous donations that are going into political donations to work anonymously for the “One Percent”. If you add up those two donations that went through DonorsTrust, the identity laundering machine of right-wing billionaires, with the $1.6 billion dollars that went into that same Leonard Leo Network through a single contribution from a single billionaire, you have $2.5 billion dollars laundered into this network to buy Republican Politicians. As evil as that is in terms of the way it plays itself out in our politics, just think, what those donors had in mind? What is their goal? What are the quiet secret deals? That is what is so bad about this. Because the public never gets to see anything. The public is angry because they feel they are being cheated by their Republican Representatives who won't listen to them, of course, they won't listen to the public when they'll do whatever the Big Donors who write $2.5 billion dollars in checks tell them they must do.
The Supreme Court is both the root and a product of this corruption. They opened up the money coffers and the benefit of money flows back to the Six Judges on the Supreme Court. The court's jurisprudence on this has become more and more permissive, and less laissez-faire about anything having to do with campaign regulation. Recently the Court had a major case in which politicians can pay themselves back from loans, the act had previously been prohibited by law. The Court reversed the decision, allowing for more cheating.
The American For Prosperity Organization is the Koch brother's major political organization, attached to it is a 501c3 named Americans For Prosperity Foundation, and the sole purpose is so they can launder tax-deductible money into their bribe system operation. That foundation sued, and the six corrupt Republican Judges on the Supreme Court created a brand new constitutional right; anonymous donors are allowed to hide their identity. During that session of the Supreme Court, those six corrupt Federalist Society Justices took away the right of citizens to have physical autonomy over their own bodies for over half the population. They took that right away and added a new right for dark money billionaires to legally push money into the system without disclosure of their identities which had previously been illegal.
The idea that the Supreme Court is a non-political body is now an absurdity. The new entire purpose of the Supreme Court is to rule politically, it's no longer for the purpose as stated in the Constitution, the six Republican members believe it is in their sole authority to determine the Constitution any way they like. The six Theological members of the Federalist Society, who are now in control of the Supreme Court, determined that their entire purpose is to be a political judiciary; that can run the country and impose their own personal values upon the nation. The idea is to try to impose their own values, that it's one of the most cynical and hypocritical things that's ever happened to Constitutional Values. The Federal Society was built on the idea that you don't want a super-legislature of lifetime appointees, but that is exactly what they have done. It turns out they did want that, they just didn't want it to be you. They didn't want that to be Democratic or Republican appointees that ended up being pro-democracy, they want to be theological-type appointees who want to put Democracy in chains and end the separation of Church and State.