In the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Citizens Untied v. Federal Election Commission which ruled that corporations are now considered “persons” when it comes to campaign finance laws, some might be surprised to learn that in Florida, even before that ruling, they already were.
In state elections, Florida Campaign Finance Laws consider a corporation an individual, which allows a maximum donation of $500 from each corporation to a candidate. In cases where people own several different corporations, that can add up to a lot when those donations flow to one candidate. So in Florida, that means the ruling has extended those laws to include campaigns for federal offices.
Florida corporations already accustomed to these laws know how to use it to their advantage to sway candidates, like Charlie Crist, as illustrated here according to The Tampa Tribune:
As attorney general in 2005, Crist opposed a large Florida Power & Light rate increase. In 2006, the company gave $225,000 to an independent expenditure committee that attacked Crist and backed his opponent, Tom Gallagher, in the Republican primary for governor.
After Crist won the primary, the company gave the Florida Republican Party $170,000, trying unsuccessfully to woo him back.
Crist recently tangled with the company over another rate increase.
With a big U.S. Senate race coming up between Republicans Crist and Marco Rubio, and Democrat Kendrick Meek, those laws could have a big impact, and the GOP candidates will likely reap the benefits, an idea clearly apparent not only to Crist, but Rubio as well. Here was Rubio’s reaction to the Supreme Court ruling:
GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio hailed it as a “victory for those who truly value the freedoms outlined in our First Amendment” and said the regulations, including the McCain-Feingold law, have hampered participation in the political process. “The best way to ensure our political system is less reliant on money is not to pass laws which infringe on fundamental rights, but rather to elect leaders who value policy and principles over politics and special interests.”
Right. So far there’s been no reaction to the SCOTUS ruling from Crist.
Florida became a blue state in last year’s elections, but thanks to this Supreme Court ruling, it’s possible that the GOP could buy its power back in both state and federal elections through what now amounts to legal bribery.
With that kind of financial advantage, Florida could easily be put back into the “red” column politically. Florida’s economy is already suffering and the state unemployment rate is one of the largest in the country at 11.8 percent, thanks to the current Governor Charlie Crist, and his predecessor, Jeb Bush, both Republicans.
Florida can hardly afford being more “in the red” than it already is.
To learn more about the Supreme Court ruling, how it will change campaign finance laws and elections, and what you can do about it, see: The “Hostile Takeover” Of Our Democracy”