Big Money and the Right to Free Speech

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In 1907, trust-busting President Teddy Roosevelt persuaded Congress to ban corporations from contributing to political campaigns. Today, three weeks before its next session is scheduled to open -- with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the bench for the first time, the US Supreme Court heard a case that could reverse more than 100 years of finance laws that now cover unions as well as corporations. Last year, the Federal Elections Commission banned the broadcast of the video Hillary: The Movie because it was funded by a corporation. Today's unusual meeting was called for arguments on whether the ban on corporate contributions violates the constitutional right to free speech. The ACLU and the National Rifle Association advocate letting them spend, in the interests of unlimited free speech. Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican John McCain warn that a flood of money will drown the voices of ordinary citizens.

Credits

Guests:
Joan Biskupic - Reuters - @JoanBiskupic, Bradley Smith - Center for Competitive Politics - @CommishSmith, Rick Hasen - University of California, Irvine - @rickhasen, Dave Levinthal - Center for Public Integrity - @davelevinthal

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Sonya Geis, Andrea Brody