Sheila Bair Makes a Mortgage Boo Boo

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Sheila-Bair.jpgI just received the seriously disturbing news that FDIC chair Sheila Bair, one of the few national economic leaders who worked hard to curb the excesses and corruption of Wall Street and stand by middle class interests, may have run into some conflict of interest problems.
According to a release from the Huffington Post Investigative Fund‘s Keith Epstein and David Heath:

Sheila Bair, one of the chief regulators overseeing Bank of America’s federal rescue, took out two mortgages worth more than $1 million from the banking giant last summer during ongoing negotiations about the bank’s bailout and its repayment. In the weeks between the closings on her two mortgage loans, Bair met with Bank of America’s chief negotiator in the bailout talks.
To avoid conflicts of interest, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which Bair heads, prohibits employees from participating in “any particular matter” involving a bank from which they are seeking a loan. Bair did not seek or receive an exemption until last week, when her agency gave her a retroactive waiver from the rules after an inquiry by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund.

Bair has been in a tug of war on a number of policy issues with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who tried to have her dumped when the Obama team took the keys to the White House. He didn’t succeed, and she stayed.
I hope that her retroactive waiver keeps her out of a mess that could distract her from her more important responsibilities. But I also hope she does an immediate review of other personnel at the FDIC who may have had similar problems given the flood of bank messes out there that the FDIC had to deal with while employees, like other Americans, may have had to rejigger and reorganize their mortgage circumstances.
They should be shown the same leniency that she received.
And it must be said that given the millions Lawrence Summers took in while moonlighting with various financial services firms, the tax hiccups of Timothy Geithner when he came in, Bair’s mortgage trip should clearly not keep her off a short list of people who could succeed Geithner at Treasury.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Sheila Bair Makes a Mortgage Boo Boo

  1. IAdmitIAmCrazy says:

    Congrats for a highly informative thread! As a Johnny-come-lately, I would like to particularly commend you for being able to get hold of some slights that do indeed occur in the heat of argument. You may still disagree considerably, and yet exchange ideas. Encouraging!
    I was(unpleasantly) surprised when I found out that Glenn Greenwald was sharing my own slightly positive ambivalent view. I had hoped he’d push me to the other side because the political implications of the Kennedy opinion are almost unpalatable.
    Right now, for me there are two central points: Kennedy claims that there is no compelling reason to curtail corporate “speech”. As the minority does not contest the general concept of “corporate speech” the question is whether or not there is sufficient evidence that corporate speech “corrupts” the political process. Apart from the judicial gymnastics of what constitutes ingratiation and influence and what corruption I can’t really see a JUDICIAL resolve for the question when “corruption” becomes compelling and when not. Seems to depend very much on the Justices’ political judgement. And in that case, I’d rather keep on the safe site: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press .. “.
    The other point where I feel the majority’s decision is tenuous is Kennedy’s claim that somehow “corporate democracy” allows shareholders to reign in management on political speech. I learnt that there are judicial decisions that limit “corporate democracy” considerably and thus renders Kennedy’s argument pratically moot. Do you have any sources?
    I agree with questions that one should study the majority decision carefully to devise a strategy where Kennedy allowed for inroads. I think he left quite a few hints. Whether they really help, I wouldn’t know.
    Augo Knoke

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  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Don’t exaggerate, Questions! I won’t offer you a
    similar mea culpa*** on a general level. Instead,
    here’s my New Year promise:
    “I solemnly promise to disagree with Questions as
    much in the future as I have done in the past!”
    *** Oops! Did I steal that from Kotz’ dictionary?

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  3. questions says:

    Paul, thanks for the note.
    Tempers flare here and mine is not immune. So in the spirit of the New Year, for whatever I have said that was foolish, ill-tempered, plain wrong, pissy, ill-tempered, or, umm, ill-tempered, SORRY!
    And by the way, you know WAY more about US politics than I do about Norwegian politics. And I don’t even know the first word of Norwegian. I’m impressed with your ability to engage in the language and the system from afar. It’s impressive!

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  4. Paul Norheim says:

    Speaking of retractions, I guess that goes for my Jan 21 2010, 2:49PM comment as
    well, Questions. You are not responsible for the “idiocy” mentioned there, and I am
    fully responsible for my own ignorance.

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  5. DonS says:

    And for those who can’t get enough legal analysis, here is Paul Rosenberg at Open Left (quite anti decision), including some deconstruction of Glenn Greenwald’s stance:
    http://www.openleft.com/diary/17094/constitutional-beanball-the-supreme-courts-corporate-rewrite-of-the-first-amendment
    Of course one of the very large issues (non-issues?) that leaps out is the way this ‘conservative’ majority has proved once again that the whole outrage over ‘activist’ judges and activist courts is sheer hypocrisy emanating from the ‘right’.

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  6. questions says:

    DonS,
    Thanks for the links! This was very helpful.
    Here’s one more link that Greenwald put in with info from campaign finance experts:
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31878.html
    And thanks for the kind gesture of retraction. It’s appreciated.

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  7. DonS says:

    Here are another couple of takes on the Citizen United decision from,
    Jonathan Turley (marginally pro)
    http://jonathanturley.org/2010/01/21/supreme-court-rules-5-4-against-campaign-limitations-in-the-hillary-the-movie-case/
    and Glenn Greenwald (marginally pro), with embedded link to Kevin Drum, Mother Earth News (marginally anti)
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/01/22/citizens_united/index.html
    There’s another Greewald link which I will add next, so as to not violate the two link dilemma; and a Glenn Smith post from FDL (strongly anti)
    And Questions, I want to retract some of my comments upthread characterizing you; just because.
    The buzz and takes around this decision in the legal community remind me, once again, of why being a practicing lawyer never sat well with me. Besides the separation of law and justice, as a given, the tenuous relationship to common sense of a line of cases, or even a single decision, is deflating (notwithstanding that the law of torts elevates to sanctity the notion of the “reasonable man in similar circumstances” test)

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  8. questions says:

    And Nadine,
    The thing to be feared is….
    Corporations were designed to shelter personal wealth from the risk of a venture. Sounds like moral hazard to me much??
    Yes innovation is generally good and people take risks with capital when their personal wealth is sheltered. And so we have iPods and wonder-drugs, cars and trains, fashionable clothing and burgers, cell phones and ready-to-assemble furniture…. It’s all great STUFF to have and to use and it makes life better.
    We have the pooling of huge amounts of capital so we can make really big things like roads and dams (oh, wait, that’s the state), umm, really big things like shipping vessels that are single-hulled and factories that don’t have scrubbers. And in all that really big stuff is the money of a lot of smaller fortunes so that risk per fortune is minimized. Sounds great!
    We also have the Exxon Valdez, mining horrors, Bhopal, global climate change, toxic children’s jewelry, plasticizers that might be more harmful than helpful, extra cancer….
    Corporations as a structure are a two-edged sword and it would be good if both sides of the debate saw both sides of corporations. In other words, don’t just fear the state, fear limited liability for that limit is awfully tempting to a lot of people.
    Like I said above, sounds a lot like moral hazard, don’t it?!

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  9. questions says:

    Nadine,
    I’m never quite the ally you sometimes hint at….
    The Supeme Court decision, near as I can tell, and I am not at all a lawyer, does the following:
    Opens up the time frame for corporate spending so that 60 or 30 days from election is no longer the limit. They can pay for stuff right up to the election.
    Opens up the corporate treasury to direct spending without the fiction of the PAC. If a company decides to go all out, this is not good, but predictions are that spending won’t change a lot. A long list of companies are now on record asking for public financing because they are sick of getting endless requests for money from politicians.
    A concern seems to be that money will be funneled through the Chamber of Commerce rather than through the parties. Parties may weaken, but party branding is still pretty important to voters, so I’m not sure how much control parties will lose. Given how the Repubs are so in lockstep at this point, it’s hard to see how the Repub party could break up over the funding shift. Parties do so much with recruitment, provision of information and lists of names and history that I don’t see them going away. They also make Congress function (to the extent that it does). Without the 2-party system, we fall into a parliamentary nightmare. (Though maybe we have some aspects of parliament and earmarks help with this kind of fracturing.)
    My offhand guess is that there will be a number of institutional responses to the decision such that it will have a lot less effect. And I personally will be glad to see this. Corporations, at some level, are merely an association of people and as such have a lot of constitutional protection. But somehow, that mere association has been magically transformed into something a little closer to beastliness and beasties need to be brought to heel.
    So Nadine, what I’m hoping is for major restraints on corporate actions, but restraints that depend not on speech restrictions but on some other range of restrictions based on money control.
    What’s good for a hedge fund isn’t, it turns out, necessarily good for America.
    By the way, Geoffrey Stone has a mellow, nice piece up at HuffPo that gives the history of decisions and definitions that the two sides are working from. He thinks the decision is bad, and he’s a smart guy. And besides, he’s an actual lawyer who has written a lot about speech issues.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-r-stone/explaining-citizens-unite_b_433140.html

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  10. nadine says:

    “DISASTER DOOM PORTENT CASSANDRA DOOM DOOM DEATH DESTRUCTION ENDTIMES DOOM DEATH CORPORATIONS DOOM DOOM DOOM DEATH” (questions)
    I like it, very catchy. Gee, there used to be a time when liberals were in favor of free speech. Now it is trumped by their hatred of any corporation, regardless of the fact that most corporations in this country are restaurants and dry cleaners and the like. Why should they lose their free speech rights because of their tax status? It makes no sense; the more so because huge media conglomerates like Time Warner have the media exemption so they are not affected. Citizens United was forbidden to show the anti-Hillary film it had made purely because it was a non-profit corporation; if the same filmmaker had made it as an individual, it would have been protected political speech. What sense did this ever make? (BTW, backing this McCain-Feingold nonsense was one of things about McCain that drives conservatives crazy and helped to elect Obama because it depressed Republican turnout.)
    All the doom-saying about corporate ads are overblown. They could already circumvent the law with PACs, which were more deceptive because you had to figure out who was really talking.
    Besides, the real behavior to be feared imo is not ads but rent-seeking, which Obama’s statism encourages. Especially in a climate where the President gets on the air the demonize this sector or that, bond holders or bankers or coal companies, it is only fair to let them try to defend themselves.

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  11. DonS says:

    btw, PBS News Hour interviewee opined that the Court’s campaign financing decision will have more adverse effect, primarily because ongoing, than Bush v. Gore.

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  12. DonS says:

    “. . . the more I like my domestic assassination team proposal . . .”
    Carroll, I think there is room for both approaches. Pressure Congress to do the right thing. And move ahead with the DAT proposal. Actually I just saw a congresscritter on teevee who I would like to suggest for the list. Or at least pray for his early demise.

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  13. Carroll says:

    Posted by DonS, Jan 21 2010, 1:46PM – Link
    Well, you know what, the Congress can, if there is the will, write law to undo what the Court has wroght. If that’s what you mean by “deal with it”, I say bravo.
    If rolling over to this Court’s stomping on 100 years of law and precedent to control corporate excess — ‘judicial activism’ at it’s worst — is what you mean, then you don’t understand the issues>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Congress doesn’t have any incentive to overturn it….it works to their election benefit.
    But the more I see of this the more I like my domestic assassination team proposal. Remove the Shadow Elite neatly, as soon as they pop up, without a lot of fuss and chaos, leaving no underpinning for a corrupt congress or court. Works in war, cut off the supply lines.
    Put this guy on the hit list.
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/01/brains-behind-citizens-united

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    And Paul,
    The precedent I cited is that of corporate personhood. You find a way to get that changed and I’ll be happy.
    I have read numerous pieces about de-personating corporations, numerous pieces on including stakeholders within corporate decision-making. Just cuz I like the idea doesn’t mean it’s ever ever going to happen.
    What you think of as “conservative” in me I’m guessing is actually my sense of what’s doable as opposed to what’s desirable.
    I’d like lots of things — single-payer insurance, a whopping high inheritance tax, much much steeper and vastly more progressive income tax, public school funding from the Feds and equitable-ized across districts and states (not equal, but equitable), and all sorts of other candy-coated nice things. But none of this is going to happen in the US. We aren’t that nice to each other.
    Instead, we get tax cuts and large inheritances for the few, and misery and job loss for the many. There’s corruption and horror. We visit it on ourselves and on Hatians (they were singled out early on in the AIDS epidemic as especially virus-y).
    So I could scream about all that is awful or work on policy issues that might help ameliorate some of the crap while not causing further damage.
    I worry about governance, the morale of federal workers and staff because if they do badly, they do so on the behalf of us all. I worry about making things worse rather than better. Clearly a conservative position!
    So anyway, please explain the height and depth of my conservative ways!

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  15. questions says:

    No Paul, I did not say 1 or 2….
    What I said was that the postings here are flipping out as are posts all over the internet.
    The decision is done. It may have been right on First Amendment issues even if it’s deeply unfortunate for controlling corporate malfeasance.
    So the thing to do is to find policy responses that control corporate malfeasance without regard to content of speech.
    That’s what I said.
    I don’t think it’s conservative at all. I said I’m not particularly happy about the A T&T president of the United States. But if you ask many posters around here, we already have basically that, so this decision is just a formality.
    The real issue now is to craft legislation that limits corporate sponsorship, that forces disclosure (apparently Thomas dissented from the ok on disclosure!!), and that basically keeps corporations from owning federal candidates.
    My guess is that if any of us sat down for a semester with a Con. law prof who specializes in the First Amendment, we might well see another side to this decision.
    Note that, though I’m not a lawyer, my take is that the dissenters were worried deeply about the EFFECTS of this kind of speech, while the opinion was worried about limitations on speech. Content restrictions are a thing to think long and hard about.
    Far better to get shareholders, whose money would be spent, to refuse the spending. Calpers probably doesn’t want to be supporting that anti-Hillary movie that started this whole thing. Well, if Calpers is a shareholder, it should be able to force a vote.
    There are clean and constitutionally-acceptable ways to stop the crap this decision is likely to unleash. So that’s what we should focus on now.
    It’s not conservatism in the sense of loving money and power and stomping on widows and orphans and starving the Haitians by making them make debt payments. It’s not conservatism in the sense of ever having even considered wanting a tax cut or a Republican in office anywhere. It’s not conservatism in the sense of loving me some killings of godless heathens. It’s not conservatism in the sense of wanting the Rapture to come. It’s not conservatism in the sense of being far more worried about ME than, say, about YOU.
    So where is this conservatism I seem to display more than anyone else ever has in the whole wide world? Please let me know! And while you’re at it, go ahead and define conservatism so that I know the charges against me.

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  16. WigWag says:

    Why Sheila Bair gets so much good press is beyond me. She may give a good interview on CNBC but in reality she’s a walking disaster area.
    During the financial crisis when financial firms were failing right and left (or threatening to fail) Baer almost made one of the most dimwitted moves of all time.
    At the end of September, 2008, Wachovia, the nation’s fourth largest bank was teetering. To save itself, Robert Steel, Wachovia’s CEO set out to sell the bank; the two major bidders were Wells Fargo, an institution that was relatively sound, and Citibank, an institution that was itself in worse shape than Wachovia.
    Sheila Bair did everything she could to make sure that Wachovia went to Citibank even though Wells Fargo had offered shareholders a far better deal. When it looked like Wells Fargo would be the winner, Bair, in contemptible fashion, threatened to throw regulatory roadblocks in the way of the merger.
    Unbelievably she thought that combining two incredibly weak institutions, Citibank and Wachovia, was better than merging a troubled Wachovia into a relatively sound Wells Fargo.
    Throughout her career, Bair (like other federal regulators) constantly did everything she could to bail out Citibank from one disastrous decision after the other.
    Fortunately Robert Steel (who turned out to be one of the “good guys” in the whole crisis) told Baer to “shove it” and refused to give in to her threats.
    Had he relented, and if Baer’s desired option had come true, both Wachovia and Citibank might not be around today and the effects on the financial system, the economy and the balance sheet of the FDIC would have been calamitous.
    Because Baer lost and Steel won, a troubled Citibank still hasn’t collapsed and the Wells Fargo/Wachovia combination while not actually healthy, is in little danger of failing.
    Looking good on CNBC doesn’t make you a financial whiz. If it did, Maria Bartiromo would be running the economy.

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  17. Paul Norheim says:

    So according to you, Questions, the only options are:
    A) defending the Supreme Court decision, or
    B) screaming doom and destruction.
    Typical straw argument – and we’re now quite familiar with these diverting rhetorical
    tactics. But certainly, the SC decision is a solid step towards alternative B. The
    decision is indefensible from the standpoint of ordinary citizens; it clearly
    undermines the already weak foundations of US democracy.
    I struggle to understand why you so often defend the obviously undefendable?
    Oh, oh, there is deep precedence, it’s impossible to undo, and hey, be careful before
    you even contemplate changing anything you don’t like, because the alternatives to
    status quo may contain unintended consequences, etc.etc…
    You must be one of the most genuinely conservative people I’ve ever discussed with.

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  18. DonS says:

    Corporation as “legal person”/rights does not equal same as individual person/rights. It is an ongoing debate. We know what side the corporatists are on.
    If we can’t muster a Congressional force to define appropriate limits to this Supreme Court decision, there is virtually no chance that any of the outstanding important issues requiring responsible Congressional actions can be accomplished.
    What will be truly interesting, in an election year, which politicians put forward legislation, and who stonewalls.

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  19. questions says:

    Paul, the point is that there is deep precedence for treating corporations as people and it would be hard to undo because there actually are people behind every corporate logo. Given that we have this structure in place, AND we have the First Amendment AND we have extra care for political speech, we will have to find creative ways around this decision.
    I’m not particularly in favor of the A T&T president of the United States or whatever, nor am I in favor of what TPM is now worried about — the Chamber of Commerce’s laundering of money — but since it’s the structure we have, we need to deal with it.
    I’m not gonna do the “end of the world” panic stuff that is de rigeur on the web. We need policy to fix this, policy that is in keeping with the First Amendment (which I like) and the personhood of corporations (which I don’t like, but which is likely here to stay).
    And DonS, it may be ludicrous, but it’s what we have to work with. Kind of like the structure and rules of the Senate. We’re stuck with it. So we need to cope. And kind of like a lot of other issues that come up around here. There are structures and incentives that are fairly well-fixed at this point. Take them as givens for now and work with the material there is.
    Break time!!

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  20. DonS says:

    As a corresponding notion to the judicial practice of “piercing the corporate veil” to get at the real malfeasance of individuals hiding behind a corporations’ actions, it is ludicrous to take the notion of corporate “personhood” literally as equivalent to individual citizen actors.

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  21. Paul Norheim says:

    “As long as corporations are going to be “people” in some sense, or as long as they’re
    run by people, probably you can’t limit what they do with their money as an issue of
    speech.”
    Sorry, Questions, but that was an amazingly idiotic sentence. You can do better than
    that.

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  22. questions says:

    From the dissent:
    ” The real issue in this case concerns how, not if, the appellant may finance its electioneering. Citizens United is a wealthy nonprofit corporation that runs a political action committee (PAC) with millions of dollars in assets. Under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), it could have used those assets to televise and promote Hillary: The Movie wherever and whenever it wanted to. It also could have spent unrestricted sums to broadcast Hillary at any time other than the 30 days before the last primary election. Neither Citizens United’s nor any other corporation’s speech has been “banned,” ante, at 1. All that the parties dispute is whether Citizens United had a right to use the funds in its general treasury to pay for broadcasts during the 30-day period. The notion that the First Amendment dictates an affirmative answer to that question is, in my judgment, profoundly misguided. Even more misguided is the notion that the Court must rewrite the law relating to campaign expenditures by for-profit corporations and unions to decide this case….
    In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure,and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.

    ….
    ” The Court’s blinkered and aphoristic approach to th eFirst Amendment may well promote corporate power atthe cost of the individual and collective self-expression the Amendment was meant to serve. It will undoubtedly cripple the ability of ordinary citizens, Congress, and the States to adopt even limited measures to protect against corporate domination of the electoral process. Americans may be forgiven if they do not feel the Court has advanced the cause of self-government today.
    In a democratic society, the longstanding consensus on the need to limit corporate campaign spending should outweigh the wooden application of judge-made rules. The majority’s rejection of this principle “elevate[s] corporations to a level of deference which has not been seen at least since the days when substantive due process was regularly used to invalidate regulatory legislation thought to unfairly impinge upon established economic interests.” At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

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  23. questions says:

    From the decision (via kos)
    “If elected officials succumb to improper influences from independent expenditures; if they surrender their best judgment; and if they put expediency before principle, then surely there is cause for concern. We must give weight to attempts by Congress to seek to dispel either the appearance or the reality of these influences. The remedies enacted by law, however, must comply with the First Amendment; and, it is our law and our tradition that more speech, not less, is the governing rule. An outright ban on corporate political speech during the critical preelection period is not a permissible remedy. Here Congress has created categorical bans on speech that are asymmetrical to preventing quid pro quo corruption. ”
    *****
    This would seem to be an invitation to have Congress revisit the issue and craft legislation that complies with the First Amendment and still deals with the corruption problems.
    This is not all or nothing, end of the universe stuff….
    Alan Grayson is developing a number of creative legislative responses. And this is to the good.
    Disclosure, excise tax and a few other things. He’s got 3 diaries up over at kos. Give them a read. He’s an interesting MC to follow.
    The First Amendment matters deeply and content restrictions on speech are really serious, especially on political speech which is the most protected.
    From the previous paragraph of the decision:
    ” The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations—including nonprofit advocacy corporations—either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship….
    Quite apart from the purpose or effect of regulating content, moreover, the Government may commit a constitutional wrong when by law it identifies certain preferred speakers. By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker’s voice. The Government may not by these means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration. The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each.”
    ****
    There’s also an interesting tack in trying to undo the personhood of corporations — now THAT would be something.
    Might even be interesting to put really strict limitations on percentages of corporate funds that aren’t turned over to shareholders. How could an exec argue with that one? It’s property rights’ trumping worker rights just like they always do — only applied to the bankster set.

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  24. DonS says:

    Your “three policy provisions” have the effect of incrementalism amounting to wishful thinking, by which time corporate America will not just own the government, but your soul, to press a point.
    Using Kucinich as a model to prove your point does exactly the opposite. If you don’t see that, others here will be glad to remind you of the futility of going up against the masters of the universe.

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  25. DonS says:

    Well, you know what, the Congress can, if there is the will, write law to undo what the Court has wroght. If that’s what you mean by “deal with it”, I say bravo.
    If rolling over to this Court’s stomping on 100 years of law and precedent to control corporate excess — ‘judicial activism’ at it’s worst — is what you mean, then you don’t understand the issues.

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  26. questions says:

    Three policy provisions I suggested: anti-corporate campaigning the way one would imagine Kucinich’s doing; shareholder rebellion; massive disclosure provisions that might even make corporate donations over a certain size somewhat burdensome to accept.
    Clearly I’m:
    “navel gazing, speechifying, pin head angel counting, and being the zionist represenative from lala land. I’m embarrassed that I took your trolling bait.”
    DISASTER DOOM PORTENT CASSANDRA DOOM DOOM DEATH DESTRUCTION ENDTIMES DOOM DEATH CORPORATIONS DOOM DOOM DOOM DEATH

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  27. questions says:

    Given that this is now the law of the land, we have to deal with it.
    Can you think of another tack?
    Oh, yeah, post a few things on TWN about how the world is coming to an end and that’s that. We’re all dead. It’s over.
    Very very helpful.
    DISASTER DOOM PORTENT CASSANDRA DOOM DOOM DEATH DESTRUCTION ENDTIMES DOOM DEATH CORPORATIONS DOOM DOOM DOOM DEATH
    Feel any better?!

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  28. DonS says:

    Questions, you must have drunk too much Pollyana juice this morning.
    The decision is a disaster any way you look at it, and positively insane to claim that PROMOTES democratic values of political speech. Homing in on free speech is perverse. This is exactly not the place to hone that issue.
    “Candidates who honestly refuse to participate in corporate finance . . .” You trying to make me choke on your gullibility?
    “Shareholders rebellion”. Like “corporate democracy” isn’t enough of a joke already?
    This post of yours is a good example why folks here accuse you of navel gazing, speechifying, pin head angel counting, and being the zionist represenative from lala land. I’m embarrassed that I took your trolling bait. Oh well, that’s on me.

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  29. questions says:

    On the Supreme Court decision, certainly it’s a poor one for a version of campaigning that seemed good but was probably something of a fiction anyway.
    What we might see in response, I hope, is candidates who honestly refuse to participate in corporate finance.
    But the Supreme Court was, sadly, probably right on the notion of political speech protection. As long as corporations are going to be “people” in some sense, or as long as they’re run by people, probably you can’t limit what they do with their money as an issue of speech.
    What I hope we see is a shareholders’ rebellion. After all, the money that a company spends making, say, an anti-Hillary Clinton film and having it screened within a few weeks of an election is not money that goes into dividends. So one place to attack is going to be fiduciary responsibility, NOT speech.
    It’ll be interesting to see the AT&T candidate battle the Citibank candidate, with an insurgent campaign by a Fox guy…. But at some level, these are the folks who have already been tossing money into the ring with not always the success they want.
    Watch and see. Find new ways to regulate disclosure, for it is in disclosure that there are limits on our behavior. (cf Plato, Republic, the story of the Ring of Gyges.)

    Reply

  30. DonS says:

    “Boo boo” Whoa! Wish I could execute a transaction like that as a boo boo. Bust as to not tarnishing her resume going forward, I’m not so convinced.
    But — BREAKING — none of this matters since it is now official, legal, etc.: Corporations owns politics. No restrictions on corporations buying elections will be tolerated:
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/01/21/supreme-court-unleashes-corporate-campaign-cash-in-citizens-united-decision/
    Who says the Supreme Court doesn’t matter

    Reply

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