The State Bar held a series of seminars Friday on the implications of the Citizens United on campaign financing – the famous U.S. Supreme Court decision is now just over a year old.
One of the participants was state Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Williard made a bit of news when he said it was likely that a) the Legislature would soon consider a measure to restore the rule-making authority of the body once known as the State Ethics Commission; and b) he favored more reliable financing of the agency.
Stacey Kalberman, executive secretary of the awkwardly renamed Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, was in the audience. And seemed pleased.
Another participant was former Gov. Roy Barnes, who made light of his November defeat – and said he was done with running for office. But for the bar, he penned a lively condemnation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to extend to the right of political speech to corporations.
Read the entire piece here. These are some of the opening lines:
”A Corporation has no soul. It can not repent and be born again even by the most determined Southern Baptist evangelist. It can not marry, even to a corporation of the opposite sex, much less the same sex.
“It can not vote. A corporation can not adopt a child or be compelled to pay child support. A corporation can not think or have an opinion.
“Even the most conservative in our society recognize the difference in corporate and personal existence when they argue a corporation should not pay taxes because it is an artificial creature passing through levied taxes to consumers.
“The examples are endless. Despite these obvious differences and contrary to a over a hundred years of settled Supreme Court precedent, the Court in Citizens United held that corporations have been pining since the beginning of the Republic to voice its long restrained free speech rights and should be set free to do so.
“What a crock.”
The former governor says this about last year’s failed campaign to return to the governor’s mansion:
“During my last run for governor the Republican Governors Association spent between seven and eight million dollars against me in to do one thing—to make me the greater of two evils. From scorched earth scenes reminiscent of the landscape of Mars to every little issue possible I was portrayed as the worst person on earth.
“Now, I am not whining. I have a thick skin, and anyway this is the life I have chosen, to paraphrase Hyman Roth from ‘Godfather II.’ But, with all of the money being spent against me I did not have the resources to combat the negative attacks. Let me give you one example.
“Jobs, of course, were a big issue in the campaign. During the time I was governor, 235,000 were created. I am not saying I was responsible for all of the job creation but my prior record as governor was a much debated subject during the campaign. The RGA began airing television spots saying while I was governor Georgia led the nation in job losses. This was simple not true.
“During my tenure Georgia was the fourth fastest growing state in the nation and the fastest growing state east of the Rocky Mountains, but in the month after the attacks of September 11, and because Hartsfield-Jackson was shut down during that time, Georgia bounced up as losing the most jobs during that short period of time.
“Because the resources of the RGA were so much greater, we could not respond and at the same time adequately promote our message. Thus the louder voice won. There was no discussion of issues like stem cell research which I favored and Governor Deal did not. There was no discussion of shortening the school year because of budget constraints which I said was off limits and Governor Deal said was not.
“Excessive money manipulates the truth and corporations are the greatest bundlers of political money in our system. The fewer restraints in corporate money, the greater chance of manipulation in campaigns.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider