In response to news that the Supreme Court will hold a special public session on Thursday, which some expect could bring a highly-anticipated campaign finance decision, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is circulating an online petition opposing the decision, which is expected to undo limits on corporate spending in federal campaigns.
Grayson said he would personally deliver the signatures to the court in the morning.
"We're trying something new -- usually the only petitions the Supreme Court sees are petitions for writ of certiorari," Grayson told HuffPost. Asked where he got the idea, he said, "It's in the Constitution. The First Amendment guarantees the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Progressive good-government groups worry that the Supreme Court seems poised to unleash a flood of corporate money into federal campaigns. The case stems from the Federal Election Commission's decision not to allow a conservative group called Citizens United to air ads for an anti-Hillary Clinton movie during the 2008 election season. The ads, the FEC reasoned, constituted unlawful corporate electioneering. The Supreme Court is questioning the constitutionality of the FEC's decision.
It's Grayson's second stunt in anticipation of the decision. Last week the outspoken Florida Democrat introduced several pieces of legislation, such the Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act and the Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act. (House leadership has also indicated it's planning a legislative response to the case.)
The petition, which Grayson is operating via his reelection campaign, had 25,000 signatures as of Wednesday evening. "I can't remember us doing anything like this that drew so many petitioners in such a short time," Grayson said.
Here's the text:
Unlimited corporate spending on campaigns means the government is up for sale and that the law itself will be bought and sold. It would be political bribery on the largest scale imaginable.
This issue transcends partisan political arguments. We cannot have a government that is bought and paid for by huge multinational corporations. You must stop this.
The case is Citizens United v FEC.
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