By: Tiffany Muller
During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump called his opponents “puppets” of big donors and promised to forgo big money donations. Since then, he’s put on some puppet strings of his own. Trump has raked in millions in donations, Super PAC contributions, and secretive dark money spending from those same mega-donors, and he’s giving them unprecedented influence and access. Not only is Trump’s Cabinet the richest in history, it’s also packed full of these mega-donors.
It’s no wonder that Trump’s breaking his word. After all, he’s made a career of it. But his embrace of foreign interference takes this problem to a new level.
Recent reports indicate that Russia and other foreign powers may have injected money into our election to help Trump after he invited them to get involved. Today, these foreign countries are giving Trump and his family sweetheart deals — and who knows what they get in exchange for these investments? These “emolument” gifts from foreign governments are already illegal, but congressional Republicans have shamefully ignored them so far. That’s no surprise, given those Republicans’ almost universal support for a mistaken Supreme Court decision that has enabled Trump’s corruption.
Trump’s breathtaking racket is enabled by Citizens United — a 2010 Supreme Court decision that threw out the old definition of corruption and opened the floodgates for unlimited, often anonymous political donations. Since Citizens United, politicians have benefited from wink-wink deals where the Super PACs and dark money groups supporting them get big checks, and the donors writing the checks get the government policies or jobs that they want when their candidates win.
You or I could be sued if we tried to pull such shenanigans in making business deals — yet it’s perfectly acceptable in our politics. Overturning Citizens United would be the first and most important step toward stopping this reign of error.
To do that, we need a Supreme Court that understands that big money donations to Super PACs and dark money groups, which do not publicly disclose the source of their funding, are corrupting our political system.
Right now, we can’t trust that the system isn’t being run for the benefit of these donors — whether they’re American billionaires or foreign governments. That’s a foundational crisis for our democracy.
That’s why we oppose Neil Gorsuch, whose judicial record indicates that he won’t oppose Citizens United and the Big Money agenda. In fact, his previous opinions indicate that he is open to eliminating some of our last remaining limits on campaign donations — which could, in practice, open the door even further for foreign interference in our elections.
That won’t cut it. We demand a Supreme Court justice who is willing to stand up and fight for Americans — not for special interest billionaires. We demand that Citizens United be ended, that President Trump conduct himself ethically, and that we rebuild a democracy that Americans can trust.