Today's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC is a major victory for corporate fat cats and a catastrophe for the American people.
By opening the floodgates for the flow of unlimited corporate money into political campaigns, the Supreme Court's opinion undermines the integrity of our democracy. Corporations like Halliburton, Exxon and Wal-Mart will now have the power to buy elections outright, because five justices believe they are entitled to the same First Amendment rights as individual citizens.
Make no mistake about it, this is a radical case of judicial activism.
The Court's decision provides another reason why the Governor ought to sign the Legislature's ethics reform bill immediately. The ethics bill I sponsored, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support this week, requires individuals and entities to disclose independent expenditures over $1,000 that advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate for public office in New York. Without such disclosure, the public will never know who is behind the tens of millions of dollars corporations will spend to influence elections.
The Supreme Court's decision also makes it clear that the only way to rid our electoral system of the influence of special interests is through public financing. A system that provides substantial matching funds for small contributions from civically engaged, everyday New Yorkers will blunt the impact from the sea of corporate money that may threaten our democracy after today's decision.