When the Supreme Court decided the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, henceforth allowing corporate soft money to influence U.S. elections, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) cynically opined that it would lead to the election of the “congressman from Wal-Mart.”
Turns out, he may be right.
Meet Murray Hill, Inc., the first corporation to run for Congress in the United States.
“Until now, corporations only influenced politics with high-paid lobbyists and backroom deals,” the company’s YouTube account declares. “But today, thanks to an enlightened supreme court, corporations now have all the rights the founding fathers meant for us. That’s why Murray Hill Incorporated is taking democracy’s next step– running for Congress.”
Murray Hill, Inc. even has a fan page on Facebook, and a campaign ad. Watch:
Hill says it plans to file as a Republican for the GOP primary in Maryland’s eighth congressional district, currently represented by Democrat Chris Van Hollen.
Van Hollen, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), introduced legislation in February they hope will help blunt the effect of the court’s decision by restoring some of the restrictions on corporate campaign spending. Hill reportedly has “no beef” with Van Hollen, though the position seems more part of the campaign’s schtick than anything.
Hill said in a statement that its campaign would put people “second, or even third,” according to The Washington Post.
“It’s a new day,” Hill’s ad says. “Until now, corporations influenced politics with high paid lobbyists and backroom deals. However, as much as corporate interests gave to politicians, we could never be absolutely sure they would do our bidding. But today, thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, corporations now have all the rights the founding fathers meant for us. It’s our democracy: we bought it, we paid for it and we’re going to keep it.”
Hill “wanted to run as a Republican because we feel the Republican Party is more receptive to our basic message that corporations are people, too,” campaign manager William Klein told the Post.
When the Supreme Court first decided Citizens United, 41 industry leaders signed a letter to Congress urging the end of what they called corporate “bribery.”
“Is there a difference between campaign contributions and bribery?” said Alan Hassenfeld, chairman of Hasbro, Inc, who co-signed the letter. “It is long past the time to stop requiring that our elected officials moonlight as telemarketers raising money for their re-election campaigns rather then devoting all their time to solving the problems before this nation.”
A blogger with watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation called the decision the “corporate globalization” of U.S. elections, cautioning that allowing corporate funds in elections would also make way for undue foreign influence on U.S. politics.
“It allows corporations to spend all the money they want to buy and sell elected officials through the campaign process,” Rep. Grayson said of the Citizens United case. “It allows them to reward political sellouts, and it allows them to punish elected officials who actually try to do what’s right for the people.”
The Post adds:
Whether or not a corporation ultimately replaces Van Hollen in Congress, Murray Hill’s interest has sparked other speculation among the political chattering class in Maryland.ADVERTISEMENT
Why not have an accounting firm run for comptroller, the state’s chief tax collector? Why not a law firm for attorney general? The winning firm could arrive in office with a full cadre of associates and save taxpayers money.
It remains to be seen whether the attention generated by Murray Hill’s bid will be good for its bottom line.
Here’s why Trump is right — a recession would likely doom his re-election
President Donald Trump is worried that there will be a recession before the 2020 election. For once, he is right about something.
"The Economy is strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well. Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to convince people that we are in, or will soon be going into, a Recession," Trump tweeted on Friday in a clear attempt to assuage concerns. "They are willing to lose their wealth, or a big part of it, just for the possibility of winning the Election. But it won’t work because I always find a way to win, especially for the people!"
WATCH: Climate activists chant ‘failure of leadership’ at Tom Perez after DNC votes against climate debate
Activists walked out of the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco after the organization voted against allowing a climate change debate during the 2020 primary.
DNC Chair Tom Perez imposed strict rules on the debates, which prevented a climate change debate from occurring. Climate activists had forced a vote, hoping to overrule the party boss.
"The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of young people to defeat Trump in 2020. But Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away," the Sunrise Movement said in a statement.