Archive for Friday, January 22, 2010

Campaign finance ruling could affect Kansas races

January 22, 2010


Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eases campaign finance restrictions on corporations and labor unions could influence the Senate primary between Republican congressmen Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt.

For example, a series of television ads supporting one candidate and bashing another could deluge voters across the state until polls close on Aug. 3. In the 5-4 decision, the majority of justices allowed corporations and entities to spend as much as they want in campaigns through commercials and literature, as long as they are not coordinating the ads with candidates or campaigns.

“Not every race is going to be determined by corporate money,” said Joe Aistrup, a Kansas State University political science professor. “It’s the close races where this kind of money can make a big difference.”

According to Federal Election Commission records, the Koch Industries political action committee — an arm of the giant Wichita-based private company — donated $10,000 in 2009 to the campaign of Tiahrt, who represents the Wichita area in the U.S. House.

Aistrup said “the Koch infrastructure is leveraged behind Tiahrt” and could produce a widespread media campaign.

“That could have some direct impact upon the primary outcome,” he said.

Moran represents the western two-thirds of the state. The two men are seeking the GOP nomination to replace Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor.

The Supreme Court ruling will not affect elections for Kansas state offices because state law already allows corporations and unions to fund “issue ads,” said Carol Williams, executive director of the Kansas Ethics Commission. The ads that do not mention the actual election; they just criticize one candidate.

Critics have called for more transparency in who produces these “issue ads,” and the commission is backing a bill to that effect that state Sen. Terrie Huntington, R-Fairway, introduced Wednesday in the Kansas Legislature.

“Without the information as to who is backing that, you don’t know what the bias is,” Williams said.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Aistrup said “the Koch infrastructure is leveraged behind Tiahrt” and could produce a widespread media campaign.

Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, in Kansas the winner in all statewide and congressional Republican races will now be determined by who the Koch family decides to support, and likely in key state house and senate races, as well-- key being determined by whether a legislator has voted in a way that displeases them.

think_about_it 8 years ago

Really clownie? I didn't realize that the Koch family had that many votes.

The Supremes ruled that the First Amendment applies to all citizens. Not just the ones you support. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. What part of that do you not understand or agree with?

Bob_Keeshan 8 years ago

think_about_it (Anonymous) says…

Really clownie? I didn't realize that the Koch family had that many votes.

The Supremes ruled that the First Amendment applies to all citizens.

Interesting comment.

First, you make an argument based on, it appears, "one person, one vote."

Then, you make the argument that a corporation is a citizen just as your or I or any other flesh and bone American is a citizen.

Of course, applying that logic to your first argument it would appear the Koch family gets to count as two people while you and I still count as one. Now to me, that's troubling.

salad 8 years ago

So if a corporation is now a citizen, then if you intentionally bankrupt a corporation for your own personal gain, then are you guilty of rape or murder? Does that person then not deserve the death penalty? Clearly the worst decision in the history of the supreme court. It puts our democracy up for sale to the highest bidder, and gives corporations unfettered ability to regulate and govern our country by selecting and pressuring legislators. And it's all perfectly legal....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"So if a corporation is now a citizen,"

Actually, a corporation is considered to have personhood, not citizenship, and this bit of insanity goes back more than 100 years, a gift to the robber barons of that time.

"Clearly the worst decision in the history of the supreme court."

This is really just an extension of the ruling that corporations are persons, which is really one of the worst decisions of all time.

We need to go back to the way corporations were set up earlier in our republic. The corporate charter is only good for a limited period of time, and it can only continue to exist if it can be shown that it serves the greater public good.

Yea, every PERSON deserves full first amendment rights. But corporations are NOT persons, and it takes an extremely convoluted logic to argue otherwise.

think_about_it 8 years ago

Corporations are not some entity of their own. They are run by people. People that each have only one vote. You seem to have this irrational opinion that somehow these "evil corporations" have a life of their own and somehow control man. Corporations cannot vote. However, according to your logic, the people who run these corporations should not have the same rights as you or I or George Soros.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

The argument is not about who or what is a person or a citizen; it is about the right to speech. And let's not forget how this ruling equally bolsters the free speech rights of unions.

The groups criticizing this ruling are those who fear an educated electorate and a society empowered with natural rights.

cowboy 8 years ago

To argue that corporations do not wield a heavily weighted level of influence upon our government is to be living in complete denial. These modern day czars control every aspect of our government and economy. We the peons are allowed to move around under the radar and toil but the big decisions are left to these monstrous entities. I don't have the answers and doubt this will ever be solved , perhaps a revolution is in order.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago


Do you believe corporations are a bigger threat to our autonomy and freedom than government?

Linda and Bill Houghton 8 years ago

Yes, corporations are a bigger threat. They already exert too much control over government and this ruling is just going to make things worse. Unfortunately money talks loudly and too many people just listen and don't think for themselves.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says…


Do you believe corporations are a bigger threat to our autonomy and freedom than government?

This question was pretty much settled by President Roosevelt.

That would be Teddy, not Franklin. But hey, if you want to return to the Gilded Age you are welcome to that opinion. A little child labor would do this nation good.

Joe Hyde 8 years ago

SRTS: If cowboy doesn't believe it, I do.

Corporate power that has been wielded in our nation's political decisions (power expressed in the form of campaign contributions, and the hiring of government officials after those officials left government) over the last fifty years has led us into many grievous blunders that damaged our economy, reduced our civil liberties and weakened our standing internationally.

Vietnam and Iraq are the two most glaring examples, where the monetary ambitions of U.S. oil companies and weapons makers ended up being transmitted into political reality then converted to acts of military aggression in the form of wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of people while wounding many millions more.

This 5-4 Supreme Court ruling (which was predictable when neo-con Republican presidents made so many appointments) is yet another step backward in time to those glorious abuses of the common person's liberty that were the hallmark of the Industrial Robber Baron age.

I wouldn't worry as much about how this recent ruling will impact our nation's future if I felt confident that American corporate leaders across the board care more for their country, their employees and fellow citizens, than they do about manipulating our elected representatives for the purpose of obtaining huge profits and establishing commercial domination.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

The belief that job providers and tax payers, i.e. corporations, are a bigger threat to society than the ever-growing, ever-consuming, ever-taxing, ever-taking government is ludicrous. The government doesn't produce a product or a service (except by force). The government doesn't innovate. The government doesn't create jobs. The government doesn't manage our money efficiently.

While our hope should not lie with corporate America, to place any hope in an institution who's main purpose is to tax us and control us is folly beyond imagination.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years ago

STRS again bringing the crazy.

Civics 101 - what is the term for an organization created by a group of people whose intent is to protect the autonomy and freedom of the people?

Hint - it isn't "corporation". Ignorance is bliss for some people, and it is a real shame.

When you lay hatred on the government, you are laying hatred upon yourself. Unlike STRS, I believe in the kind of government espoused in the Gettysburg Address.

Liberty275 8 years ago

As long as an entity pays taxes, it should be able to produce and distribute any political message it has.

"When you lay hatred on the government, you are laying hatred upon yourself. "

I'm not sure that is accurate. "we the people" are the sovereign of America, the government is a group of people we hire to run the nation. If anything, you might say "when you lay hatred on the government, you lay hatred on the choices you and others made at the polls".

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago


If our government would stop at protecting "the autonomy and freedom of the people," I would bow humbly, penitently at your feet.

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