Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Poll Reveals Strong Bi-Partisan Opposition to Citizens United

An ABC-Washington Post news poll (questions 35 and 36) released today revealed strong bi-partisan opposition to the Court's recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC (striking down under the First Amendment federal regulations prohibiting corporations and labor unions from using general funds for "electioneering communication").

In response to the question, "Do you support or oppose the ruling that says corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections?" 80% opposed; 18 percent supported.  On the question, "Would you support or oppose an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns?" 72% supported; 24% opposed.

The numbers are remarkably consistent across party and ideological lines.

Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Chris Van Hollen introduced legislation to reinstate the former restrictions on certain corporations and to increase transparency in spending for others.  (The link is a summary.  We'll post the bill when it's available on thomas and gpoaccess.)  Their bill targets foreign corporations, government contractors, and recipients of TARP funds and attempts to increase transparency by, e.g., requiring corporate CEOs to identify that they're behind political ads and enhancing FEC reporting requirements.

Schumer and Van Hollen's bill isn't the only fix out there.  Congressman Grayson introduced the "Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act," imposing a 500 percent excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees and on corporate expenditures on electioneering communication.


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