The McCain-Feingold Act

The McCain-Feingold Act was ruled unconstitutional today by the Supreme Court. What does this mean? Well that is a complicated answer. McCain-Feingold in itself is not that old (2002), but the crux of the act hearkens back to the turn of the twentieth century when robber barons used their wealth to elect politicians that would do their bidding.

Valid arguments can be made both ways. It is, after all, freedom of speech, but who’s speech? Who speaks for the SEIU, GM, the AFLCIO, or GE? I rather think the First Amendment protection of free speech applies to individuals. Does that include individual entities? Then the questionable aspects of the candidate being beholding to the corporation or organization that funds the ad comes into play, as was the case with the robber barons.

I think the ruling is correct. The freedom of speech must be preserved. But this freedom must apply only to individuals. The individuals hiding behind these corporate and organizational names should not be insulated from prosecution and law suits by the same laws that allow them this freedom of speech. An individual should be put forth to stand accountable for the good as well as the bad if an organization desires this kind of consideration from the American people.

A case in point is when I worked for a large automobile manufacturer I was required to belong to a union, even though I did not want to. The union donated to the Democrat Party. I did not like that either. If this is the case I should have been able to bring suit against the individual who made this decision. Does that sound fair? I don’t recall a vote at the union hall to see if we were going to donate. They just did it.

Let’s look at that logically. I had to pay a portion of my income to a group just to keep my job. That sounds like the old protection money the gangsters took from merchants so they didn’t put them out of business. Next they took that same money and gave it to a cause that I not only did not believe in, but at the time, worked against (I was a Republican). What’s that quote about a man being made to pay for something he abhors?

At any rate, we’ve gone back in time about a century on this law. Is that good? I don’t know. It seems like it should be so why do I have all this fear?

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3 Responses to “The McCain-Feingold Act”

  1. Joseph A Nagy Jr Says:

    This is an issue that I’m addressing at my website. For far too long politicians have been beholden to their corporate donors and not the American citizenry. While the focus of the website is protests and boycotts against corporations lobbying for their own special interests, the McCain-Feingold Act of 2k2 actually addressed it really well. The Constitution addresses it even better. The Constitution only applies to American citizens. It doesn’t apply to the legal fiction that the American corporation is as they are neither citizens nor living entities. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what we can do to reverse this deadly process.

  2. The BookGuy Says:

    Nice post. 🙂 But I’m firmly on the Corporations aren’t people side of this. Though your Union example is a very valid and good point about why Unions are also a problem here. This same law will allow unions unhindered donations, they just have less money than the corps do.

    • Joseph A Nagy Jr Says:

      Don’t be so sure about the Unions having less money. Look at SEIU. Look at the Teamsters. They are corporations in and of themselves, essentially. They have more members then most SMBs have employees, and while they won’t have as much money as the mega-corp, they definitely hold more influence.

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