The racket

The American Conserative Union turns out to be a shake-down operation. And it couldn’t operate that way unless corporations were willing to pay. An excellent reason to retain the ban on corporate campaign contributions, a ban which the Red team on the Supreme Court would like to abolish.

I met David Keene of the American Conservative Union for the first time a few months ago. In casual conversation, he referred to the ACU’s “clients.” That made me suspect that something like this was going on. I think this is somewhat more common in the Red team than it is in the Blue team. I wish I thought the Blue team didn’t have any of it.

I’ve always admired FedEx as an enterprise, even as I deplored its owner’s right-wing politics. But I give him some points for not giving in to the shakedown.

Of course the ACU wouldn’t have tried this if it didn’t usually get away with it. That’s worth pondering, as the Red (in)justices on the Supreme Court consider getting rid of the ban on corporate bribery of politicians (thinly disguised as “campaign contributions”) in the name of free speech.

Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas all voted to allow corporations to fix state court cases, in states with elected judges, by spending unlimited funds to elect friendly judges who could then rule on their sponsors’ cases. So it’s not at all far-fetched that they will vote to legalize corporate bribery in the other two branches, or that the could persuade Justice Kennedy to go along with them, as he did in Bush v. Gore.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: