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Citizens United's Bossie: Court Ruling Protects Personal Rights

By    |   Thursday, 03 April 2014 08:18 PM

Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling eliminating aggregate donation limits from individual donors has been called the next Citizens United.

Dave Bossie, the president and chairman of Citizens United, the nonprofit advocacy group that won a similar landmark Supreme Court case in 2010, says he  takes that as a compliment.

"I'm really happy for Mr. McCutcheon, it really takes courage to take on the resources of the United States government. That's what he did, that's what we did many years ago," Bossie told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV Thursday, referring to Shaun McCutcheon, the plaintiff in Wednesday's case.

The Citizens United ruling overturned bans on corporate contributions to political causes, equating such donations to free speech and ruling that corporations have the same right to free speech that individuals do.

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Wednesday's ruling eliminated limits on the total amount individuals are allowed to donate to candidate committees, political action committees and party committees in two-year cycles.

"It was a very similar type of a case, which was grounded in the First Amendment, our free speech rights and that's what he believed were being infringed in his case and I'll tell you, there's a lot of people around the country who, on a daily basis feel their rights are being infringed and I have it happen to me on occasion," Bossie said.

Reactions to the McCutcheon ruling have largely fallen on party lines. Democrats have railed against it as a scourge on democracy, Republicans have hailed it as an upholding of the right to free speech.

One Republican who has denounced the decision is Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who co-sponsored the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill, which was intended to cap the influence of big-money donors in political campaigns. That bill has been rendered largely gutted by the Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings.

"The only one who had to abide by McCain-Feingold was John McCain [in the 2008 presidential election against Barack Obama], and there's a lot of irony and a lot of humor involved in that," Bossie said.

The left argues that these two rulings have overly empowered wealthy individuals, and particularly conservative causes. Bossie said that liberals have their own millionaire and billionaire donors — donors who helped propel Barack Obama to the presidency — and a consistently huge corporate donor in labor unions.

"The left loves to talk about the Koch brothers, but the left never wants to admit that for the last 30 years or more that the unions which have grown dramatically in power and scope, influence, and money have been able to up until our case until the Citizens United ruling was able to spend money on politics and not have to live by any of the rules that the rest of us do. So our case leveled the playing field from that standpoint," Bossie said.

Barack Obama's presidential election wins over McCain and the deep-pocketed Mitt Romney -- raising more money than both candidates -- are proof that, since both sides have mega donors, they aren't really a threat, Bossie said.

"So the argument that money just buys it is just not accurate," he said.

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Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling eliminating aggregate donation limits from individual donors has been called the next Citizens United.
Thursday, 03 April 2014 08:18 PM
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