On Friday, Indiana attorney Jim Bopp quietly lost reelection to the Republic National Committee. Bopp is the architect of the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court case that gave us super PAC's and the torrent of political spending that has turned elections into auctions.
Bopp has been on the RNC since 2006, and Friday's vote is viewed as backlash for a series of extreme proposals. A 2009 resolution proposed by Bopp would have asked the Democratic Party to change its name to the "Democrat Socialist Party." A year later, Bopp proposed that Republican candidates be required to meet at least eight of 10 ironclad positions to receive financial support from the party: an unprecedented litmus test. Bopp created a super PAC that was instrumental in taking down centrist Republican Senator Dick Lugar.
Bopp's extremism helps us understand the irrationality of the Citizens United case, which actually asserts that super PACs do not create corruption or even the appearance of corruption. You have to be an extremist or just naive to buy that assertion. Bopp's actions demonstrate that the infamous court case is part of the broader effort cede control of our country to monied interests while our leaders -- and the public -- become more polarized and divided.
Dyed in wool conservatives like Indiana attorney Paul Ogden have opined, "After reading (Citizens United), I thought it nothing more than an activist opinion that, based on a creative interpretation of the Constitution, inappropriately usurped legislative power substituting instead what the court thought the best policy was, the exact sort of thing we conservatives have for decades criticized liberal judges for doing..." Senator John McCain called Citizens United "incredibly naive" and predicts "huge scandals" to occur as a result.
The story of Jim Bopp explains why more and more grassroots conservatives are joining with grassroots liberals in support of sweeping campaign finance and lobbying reform. They are saying no to a system that allows a handful of billionaires to choose who gets elected, and who doesn't.
They are saying no to a system where the most common sense public policies are traded for contributions -- be it banking, taxation, health, government waste, or any other issue central to the future of our nation and her people.
The key to winning the elusive reform we so desperately need? Millions of people from across the political spectrum need to unite behind a comprehensive reform proposal, and back it with a political machine strong enough to force politicians to pass it. That's what it will take to clean up this mess, and that's what our organization is working with others to achieve. So, stay tuned....