Cui Bono?


So who’s the real winner of Thursday’s ruling that allows corporations to buy all the political advertising their checkbooks allow? Big banks? The Republican Party? The pharmaceutical industry? Maybe. But Jim Innocenzi, a GOP strategist in Alexandria, thinks it will be a windfall for media corporations:

“There is only so much advertising space available the last 30 to 60 days [before an election] anyway, so all the ruling does is jack up the cost of 30-second commercials at the end of the campaign,” he said.

Elsewhere, Mark Kleiman nominates another unforeseen beneficiary:

One aspect of the ruling that hasn’t gathered much attention: as far as I can tell, the analysis doesn’t distinguish between domestic and foreign corporations….So the ruling allows Hugo Chavez to spend as much money as he wants to helping and harming American politicians. If the Russian, Saudi, and Chinese governments don’t currently have appropriate vehicles for doing so, you can count on it: they soon will.

….The United States has a $13 trillion GDP, and total annual campaign spending is on the order of $2 billion. Buying influence on the American government has to be the highest-leverage activity ever invented, and Justice Kennedy and his four accomplices just invited every oligarch and tyrant in the world to play. This is not just a threat to democracy; it’s a threat to sovereignty.

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?