"SUPREME COURT COULD USHER IN UNPRECEDENTED SPECIAL INTEREST ERA

The Supreme Court could loosen restrictions on the influence of money in politics after it hears Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.

In an editorial on Sunday, the New York Times said that if the Supreme Court strikes down the longstanding rule that corporations can't spend directly on federal elections, it will usher in an era of labor unions and big business essentially deciding who gets elected and what they do in office:

If corporations are allowed to spend from their own treasuries on elections -- rather than through political action committees, which take contributions from company employees -- it would usher in an unprecedented age of special-interest politics.

Who might benefit from that? Republicans, reports Politico.

The case challenges decades of restrictions on corporations and unions spending unlimited cash on advocacy and advertising. Campaign finance experts predict that the court's conservative majority might expand the types of ads corporations and unions can purchase.

From Politico:

Depending on the contours of the decision, sources familiar with the political and legal strategies of unions, major Washington advocacy groups and trade associations expect a deluge of new spending in the 2010 and 2012 elections that likely would most benefit Republicans, since for-profit corporations and their non-profit advocacy groups tend to lean right and have more money at their disposals than unions, which typically support Democrats."

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