Outgoing Democratic Congressman John Hall Warns Citizens United Could Lead To 'Fascism'
Rep. John Hall (D-N.Y.), who is leaving Capitol Hill after being defeated by Republican challenger Nan Hayworth, recently warned that with the massive changes to campaign finance law prompted by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, the nation could soon descend into fascism.
"The country was bought," Hall told The New York Observer in an exit interview. "I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called Fascism. So that's really the question -- is that the destination if this court decision goes unchecked?"
Hall then placed the blame on the political leanings of specific justices.
"The extremist, most recent two appointees to the Supreme Court, who claimed in their confirmation hearings before the Senate that they would not be activist judges, made a very activist decision in that it overturned more than a century of precedent," Hall explained. "And as a result there were millions of extra dollars thrown into this race."
While Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the most junior member of the bench at the time of the ruling, was on the dissenting and eventually unsuccessful end of the decision, Hall is likely referring to Bush appointees Samuel Alito and John Roberts, both of whom favored allowing corporations to anonymously funnel unlimited amounts of cash into political elections.
Hall was a strong supporter of the DISCLOSE Act earlier this year, a failed piece of legislation that included provisions to limit the potential influence of foreign-controlled corporations on U.S. elections.
Hall told The Observer that he had specific qualms with the misleadingly named political action groups that have cropped up in the wake of the decision.
"We are talking about supposedly wholesome names like Revere America, American Crossroads, Americans for Apple Pie and Motherhood -- if somebody hasn't trademarked that one I probably should. The fact is you can call it anything and the money could be coming from BP or Aramco or any corporation domestic or foreign," Hall said.
The Observer reports that there is some talk of Hall taking a job with the Obama administration, or perhaps with newly-elected New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though the outgoing congressman has yet to announced any official plans.