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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

SCOTUS frees up corporate money in elections

21

January

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning released a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that will allow corporations and unions to spend freely in political campaigns -- a ruling that could affect federal races across Florida, including the hotly contested U.S. Senate primary.

Experts are still trying to grasp the 5-4 vote (ruling here) but it appears to be a game changer. The court did not change the prohibition on direct contributions to candidates but overturned a decades-old ruling that said companies cannot use money from general treasuries to produce campaign ads.

GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio hailed it as a "victory for those who truly value the freedoms outlined in our First Amendment" and said the regulations, including the McCain-Feingold law, have hampered participation in the political process. "The best way to ensure our political system is less reliant on money is not to pass laws which infringe on fundamental rights, but rather to elect leaders who value policy and principles over politics and special interests."

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, has the opposite view. "This is the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case. It leads us all down the road to serfdom."  Grayson went to the court this morning for the decision and submitted a petition "against giving corporations a blank check in our federal elections."

The U.S. Senate campaign for Democrat Kendrick Meek said he "believes we need less special interest money in politics not more. He is disappointed in today's ruling by the Supreme Court."

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:15pm]

    

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