The Supreme Court’s Gift to the Chamber of Commerce

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Green groups are lambasting Thursday’s Supreme Court decision striking down limits on corporate election advertising as a handout to dirty energy interests, big business groups, and other foes of environmental regulations.

Cathy Duvall, political director of Sierra Club, warned in a statement that the ruling will unleash a “tidal wave of special interest cash and influence peddling” on the electoral process. The decision, Duvall noted, will give even more power to major lobbying groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, that regularly oppose environmental regulations. The Chamber’s Michigan division was a party to one of the campaign finance cases the Court ruled on today, which could allow the organization to spend similar sums on political advertising as it currently does on lobbying. According to fourth-quarter filings released yesterday, the Chamber spent $71 million on lobbying last quarter, bringing the group’s 2009 total to $123 million, more than it has ever spent. By comparison, its political action committee has been spending small change—just $248,381 in 2008 and $235,233 in 2006. The Chamber has pledged to wage its “most aggressive” election fight ever in 2010, and earlier announced it had amassed a $100 million war chest for lobbying and political advocacy this year.

Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, said the decision will “open the floodgates for oil companies like Exxon.” He noted that Exxon Mobil’s PAC spent just over $811,000 on the 2008 election, but would now be free to pour massive sums into political advertising—”potentially drowning out the voices of the majority of Americans who support investing in clean American energy and reducing harmful carbon pollution.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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