Money to speak even more loudly

You’ve heard the saying that “Money talks and bull—- walks.”

Hang on to your wallet and dial in your BS detector. Money is about to have a lot more say in who we elect to public office, thanks to the United States Supreme Court.

The court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines on a case that removes caps on all political donations. The five-member conservative wing of the court won the argument — of course.

The case involves McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, and it follows through on the landmark Citizens United case of 2010 that removed most limits on campaign donations by corporations. This latest ruling removes the rest of the restrictions involving caps on direct donations to candidates and political parties.

Is it a First Amendment issue, as Chief Justice John Roberts noted in his majority opinion? Sure … if you buy the argument that a billionaire’s monstrous bankroll has no more influence on political candidates than a middle-class blue-collar employee writing a $20 check to the candidate of his or her choice.

Billionaires, be they on the left or the right, have infinitely more influence on these matters than John Q. Citizen.

Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissent took note of the impact of today’s decision. “If the court in Citizens United opened a door,” he said, “today’s decision may well open a floodgate.”

And money is going to pour through that floodgate.

I make no apologies in my defense of the First Amendment’s clause dealing with political expression. Still, there’s something quite unseemly about the burgeoning influence of money on political campaigns. Billionaire George Soros’s efforts to elect Democrats is troublesome only in that his voice can be heard so much more clearly than someone with a lot less money. The same can be said for the Koch Brothers, who are involved up to their armpits in electing Republican office seekers.

The greater the influence of money in these campaigns, the lesser the influence you and I are going to have in getting these candidates to listen to our concerns.

This ruling marks a bad moment in American political history.