Supreme Court Naive and Uninformed?
Source: LA Times ---
"The Supreme Court sent a wave of corporate and union money flooding into campaign ads this year, but it did so with the promise that the public would know — almost instantly — who was paying for them.
"With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in January. "This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages."
But Kennedy and the high court majority were wrong. Because of loopholes in tax laws and a weak enforcement policy at the Federal Election Commission, corporations and wealthy donors have been able to spend huge sums on campaign ads, confident the public will not know who they are, election law experts say.
Corporate donors have been able to hide their contributions despite the opposition of shareholders and customers — the very groups cited by Kennedy.
By an overwhelming margin, shareholders say they don't want their companies devoting money to political ads. Customers are also easily angered by corporate political stands. In a recent case, Target Corp.'s chief executive was forced to apologize after it was revealed the company had donated $150,000 to the campaign of a Republican candidate in Minnesota who opposed gay rights. The retail chain faced a possible boycott led by gay rights activists.
"The biggest change this year is that it is no longer possible to identify the individuals who are responsible for funding election communications," said Karl J. Sandstrom, a former FEC commissioner who advises Democrats on election law.
He called Kennedy's opinion naive and said it reflected a "very uninformed view of how disclosure works..." Read more from the LA Times