McCutcheon v. FEC - Emily Bazelon

  • Aired:  10/07/13
  •  | Views: 52,319

Slate's Emily Bazelon explains how unrestricted campaign donations could result in corruption and inequality. (4:55)

THE CASE THAT'S REALLY GOT MYGAVEL IS "McCUTCHEON V. THE

FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION."

SHAUN McCUTCHEON IS CHALLENGINGTHE LIMITS ON CAMPAIGN

CONTRIBUTIONS WHICH ARECURRENTLY

$2,600 TO A SINGLE CANDIDATE ANDAN OVERALL LIMIT OF

$123,000 PER ELECTION CYCLE.

FOLKS, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THEGOVERNMENT SHOULD TELL US HOW

MUCH MONEY THERE CAN BE INPOLITICS ANY MORE THAN THEY

SHOULD TELL US HOW MUCH RATFECES DMB A HOT DOG!

IT'S FINE AS LONG AS THE RATSKEPT KOSHER.

(AUDIENCE REACTS)HERE TO TELL US HOW MUCH RAT

FECES THERE'S GOING TO BE IN OURPOLITICS IS "SLATE" LEGAL EXPERT

AND SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW ATYALE LAW SCHOOL EMILY BAZELON.

EMILY, THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMINGBACK.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)ALL RIGHT.

ALL RIGHT, EM.

FIRST OF ALL, IS THE SUPREMECOURT -- ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE

A SESSION?

ARE THEY ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL ORARE THEY FURLOUGHED.

>> THEY SAY THEY'RE ESSENTIAL.

THEY PUT OUT A PRESS RELEASE,THEY'RE HEARING ARGUMENTS ALL

WEEK JUST THE WAY THEY'RESCHEDULED.

>> SO THEY TOOK THREE MONTHS OFFAND THEY SHOW UP AND GO "WAIT,

YOU NEED TO PAY US."

>> I THINK THEY WANT TO BE ANESSENTIAL SERVICE.

THEY'VE DECIDED THAT THEY ARE.

>> Stephen: NOW, THE McCUTCHEONCASE.

GIVE ME NUTS AND BOLTS HERE.

WHAT ARE THE LIMITS NOW?

$2600 PER PERSON AND$123,000.

WHAT'S THE LOGIC BEHIND NOTLETTING ME DONATE ALL I WANT?

>> THE LOGIC IS THAT IF YOU HAVELIMITS YOU'LL HAVE LESS

CORRUPTION.

SO IF YOU COULD GIVE $2,600 TOAS MANY FEDERAL CANDIDATES YOU

WANT IN A TWO-YEAR ELECTIONCYCLE THEN SOMEONE COULD BUNDLE

THE GIFTS TOGETHER.

THAT WOULD BE A GREAT WAY TOEXERT INFLUENCE.

THEN YOU WOULD BE THE PERSONWITH THE POCKETBOOK WHO REALLY

HAD THE INFLUENCE.

>> Stephen: WAIT.

SO IF I GIVE POLITICIANS A LOTOF MONEY THEY MIGHT DO WHAT I

WANT?

>> YES, AND WE WORRY ABOUT THAT.

>> Stephen: BUT THAT'SCORRUPTION!

>> EXACTLY.

AND WE WORRY ABOUT THAT HAS THATAS THE PROBLEM OF QUID PRO QUO.

THAT'S WHY WE HAVE CAMPAIGNFINANCE REFORM.

>> Stephen: I DON'T SPEAKSPANISH.

WHAT IS QUID PRO QUO?

WHOSE SQUID IS THIS?

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

>> IT MEANS GETTING SOMETHINGFOR SOMETHING THAT YOU GIVE.

>> Stephen: BUT ALL WE'RE GIVINGIS SPEECH BECAUSE THE SUPREME

COURT RULES THAT MONEY EQUALSSPEECH.

AM I NOT WRONG?

>> WELL, AND THIS CASE, IF THESUPREME COURT RULED IN FAVOR OF

SHAUN McCUTCHEON COULD REALLYCONTINUE THAT IDEA OF MONEY

EQUALING SPEECH.

BUT THE PART THAT REALLY MATTERSIS WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT HAS

GOOD REASON FOR PUTTING LIMITSON THE MONEY.

AND IN THIS CASE THERE'S APROBLEM OF CORRUPTION WE JUST

TALKED ABOUT AND THERE'S ALSOEQUALITY BECAUSE IF RICH PEOPLE

CAN GIVE ALL THE MONEY THEY WANTTHEN YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH

DROWNING OUT EVERYONE ELSE'S.

>> Stephen: WELL, IF MONEYEQUALS SPEECH RICH PEOPLE SPEAK

REALLY WELL AND POOR PEOPLE HAVEA SPEECH IMPEDIMENT.

(LAUGHTER)>> AND WE WORRY ABOUT THAT

PROBLEM.

>> Stephen: WHO IS "WE"?

DO YOU HAVE A MOUSE IN YOURPOCKET?

(LAUGHTER)I'M NOT WORRIED AT ALL.

I'M WORRIED THAT MY SPEECH WILLBE IMPEDED BECAUSE-- SPOILER

ALERT-- I'VE GOT A LOT OF MONEY.

>> AND YOU'VE BEEN GOOD ATRAISING MONEY FOR ELECTIONS BUT

CONGRESS WORRIED ABOUT PEOPLELIKE YOU EXERTING TOO MUCH

INFLUENCE ON THE PROCESS ANDTHEY WORRY ABOUT ALL THE REGULAR

PEOPLE WHO CAN'T RAISE HUNDREDSOF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AND

MAKING SURE THEIR VOICES AREALSO HEARD AND THAT THE

CANDIDATES HEAR ABOUT THEIRVIEW.

>> Stephen: WELL, THIS COURT ISSUPER LIBERAL NOW, RIGHT.

>> IT IS NOT.

>> Stephen: THEY JUST APPROVEDOBAMACARE, THUMB'S UP AND THEY

SAID EVERYBODY'S GOT TO GET GAYMARRIED NOW.

(LAUGHTER)>> TRUE.

>> Stephen: TRUE!

THAT'S TRUE!

YOU AGREE WITH ME THAT'S WHATTHEY SAID.

>> NO, THEY DIDN'T SAY EVERYBODYHAS TO GET GAY MARRIED.

>> Stephen: BUT IT'SRECOMMENDED.

>> NO, NO.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)NO, IT IS NOT.

THEY SAID THAT FEDERAL LAW WILLGIVE FEDERAL BENEFITS TO GAY

COUPLES WHO ARE MARRIED INSTATES THAT RECOGNIZE GAY

MARRIAGE.

THEY DID SAY THAT.

BUT IT'S NOT A LIBERAL COURT.

>> Stephen: IT'S BEEN SEVEN ANDA HALF YEARS SINCE A WHITE GUY

WAS APPOINTED.

THAT DOESN'T SEEM LIBERAL TOYOU?

>> I DON'T THINK THAT HASANYTHING TO DO WITH LIBERAL.

>> Stephen: IT COMMUNITY?

>> NO, IT DOESN'T.

>> Stephen: BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT AWHITE GUY.

>> THIS IS ONE OF THE MOSTCONSERVATIVE COURTS WE'VE HAD IN

MODERN HISTORY.

>> WHICH WAY ARE THEY GOING TOSWING?

>> I THINK IT'S VERY LIKELY THECOURT WILL CUT BACK FURTHER ON

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM.

THE REAL QUESTION IS WHETHERROBERTS AND ALITO-- CHIEF

JUSTICE ROBERTS AND SAMUELALITO-- WILL GO AS FAR AS THE

OTHER THREE CONSERVATIVES WHOHAVE MADE IT CLEAR THAT THEY ARE

REALLY, REALLY, NOT INTERESTEDIN LIMITS ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE.

>> Stephen: CAN I TELL YOUSOMETHING?

EVERYBODY THROUGHOUT SHOULDLISTEN TO THE SLATE POLITICAL

GAL.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: AND WITHIN OF THETHINGS THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT

NOW THAT UNTIL THIS PARTICULARCRISIS PASSES THERE'S A SLATE

ANN THAT YOU CAN LOOK ATEVERYDAY.

I LOVE IT.

IT PUTS ME RIGHT TO SLEEP ATNIGHT.

EMILY BAZELON, THANK YOU SO MUCHFOR JOINING ME.

EMILY BAZELON.

SLATE, WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

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