Citizens United Cracks Down on Free Speech

At a rally Citizens United sponsored for Steve King to bring all the GOP candidates to Iowa, Marco Malagone and Cesar Vargas, Co-Director of Dream Action Coalition, were kicked out for trying to ask candidates questions. It was a relatively tame bit of activism, one which Cesar and Marco had been led out of a rally for before. They complied with all requests and were outside when the police who escorted them out returned and informed them they were under arrest.

"I was very surprised at the time," said Cesar Vargas. "They asked us to leave, so we did. Evidently, however, the Citizen United organizers behind the event were very angry and approached the police about having us arrested after they had kicked us out. It was a little surprising, especially since the guys behind the billionaire's free speech lawsuit were cracking down on our First Amendment rights."

Even for those who are not political junkies, the term Citizens United is fairly well known: it is the name synonymous with deregulation of money in politics behind the guise of a billionaire's First Amendment rights to spend an unlimited amount of money in support of a candidate.

This was one of the legal developments that allowed billionaires like Foster Freiss to keep Rick Santorum's campaign going, and Sheldon Adelson to spend millions to keep Newt Gingrich's campaign afloat long after it should have died. Because of this constitutional interpretation, it is expected that campaign spending for 2016 may break a record $10 billion. In fact, it's become so bad that the head of the Federal Elections Commission has all but given up:

"The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim. I never want to give up, but I'm not under any illusions. People think the F.E.C. is dysfunctional. It's worse than dysfunctional."

The Citizens United case has certainly poisoned the political well, and now every GOP candidate who wants to be taken seriously must get into a room with billionaire megalomaniacs like Sheldon Adelson to get on their knees and kiss his ring; the sheer spectacle of it must be like watching Zigfreid and Roy break the most powerful animals in the world and force a white tiger to beg for a treat.

When push comes to shove, it should be no surprise that the nonprofit company like Citizens United is little more than a lobbyist for billionaires who want to buy politics wholesale. They could not, however, have designed a more perfect illustration of this contrast between their marketing on the First Amendment and the reality than making sure two demonstrators were dragged into court for exercising theirs.

Strip away their bells and whistles, and it's confirmed they are exactly what the public thinks them to be: a billionaire's BS factory, aggressively pumping their substance into the public square with the finest amplifiers money can buy to drown out everything else.