Most of us remember when Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire, promised to spend up to 100 million dollars to defeat Barack Obama’s bid for another term in the Oval Office. Apparently he went above and beyond this goal, spending nearly $150 million in an effort to prevent a Democratic administration and Congress.
This information comes from two GOP fundraisers that have close ties to the casino mogul, according to the Huffington Post. HuffPo also reports that,
Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring “vilification of people that were against him.” As that second term begins, Adelson’s international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business.
This coming week, Adelson plans to visit Washington, according to three separate GOP sources familiar with his travel schedule. While here, he’s arranged Hill meetings with at least one House GOP leader in which he is expected to discuss key issues, including possible changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law that undergirds one federal probe into his casino network, according to a Republican attorney with knowledge of his plans.
Now it becomes clear. Adelson’s reason for donating this much to a Republican cause is simple — he believed that if he succeeded in making sure the GOP were able to take the presidency and, hopefully, Congress as well, he would avoid the continuing federal investigation and possible criminal charges.
If Romney had indeed succeeded in his bid for the White House, that would have been partly because of the efforts of Adelson. In Sheldon Adelson’s eyes, this means that possible criminal behavior would have been easier to hide. And why was he able to donate this much? Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission, along with Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission.
Citizens United makes contribution limits absolutely pointless, equating money with speech and corporations as people. Corporations and unions are now allowed to donate as much as they wish in political support, essentially making politicians literally — and legally — represent corporate interests. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is generally credited with the creation of SuperPACs (we’ll get to them in a moment), but it actually took another decision for that to happen; Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission.
In the second landmark case mentioned above, SuperPACs were created. A normal PAC had some strict rules: no individual contributions over five thousand dollars, and no corporate or union donations at all. However, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, in conjunction with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, established that as long as PACs don’t coordinate with a politician or donate to their campaign, they can spend and accept unlimited amounts of money in “political speech.” This is claimed to be a defense of the First Amendment, but that’s like walking into a crowd of people and handing one percent of them megaphones in the defense of “free speech.” Allowing the few that are rich a louder voice doesn’t protect the rights of the many.
Not only would a Romney presidency have made it easier for Adelson to escape federal investigations, but it would continue this trend of money equaling speech:
“Corporations are people, my friend.” That’s Mitt Romney’s opinion. He supports Citizens United, as do so many on the right. Republicans wonder why the left seems to group them all together with what they view as a “few” crazies out there; you know the ones I mean. Mourdock, Akin, Ryan, et cetera. Anti-women and bigoted. However, most Republicans in power have supported things that the mainstream doesn’t. It’s not that half of America believes these things. It’s that they aren’t voting the people that do out.
And while the majority of Americans don’t support the landmark decision, it remains to be seen whether we will be successful in overturning the decision.