Corruption? What Corruption?

| Mon Mar. 19, 2012 10:53 AM EDT

The LA Times reports on the latest front in campaign fundraising:

A "super PAC" that has spent more than $35 million on behalf of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has accepted donations from federal contractors despite a 36-year-old ban against such companies making federal political expenditures.

....Several contributors — including a Florida aerospace company that has contracts with the Defense Department, and a Boston-based construction company that is helping build a Navy base — are taking advantage of a legal gray area created by the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, which said that independent political expenditures could not be regulated based on who was making them.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporate donations to campaign Super PACs were legal because there was no reason to think they led to "corruption or the appearance of corruption." This was a remarkably specious argument in the first place, but now we're apparently going to test it to destruction. Romney's Super PAC is essentially arguing that even contributions from federal contractors don't have the slightest taint of corruption to them. Both federal law and common sense have disagreed for more than 70 years, but we live in a brave new world, and common sense is no longer as common as you might think.