President Barack Obama on Saturday accused Republicans of blocking stricter campaign finance rules he believes are necessary after a Supreme Court ruling lifting caps on corporate donations.
Obama’s criticism came six weeks ahead of legislative elections that will determine how much room for political maneuver the president will have in the second half of his four-year term.
In a decision announced on January 21, the US Supreme Court said that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in elections could not be limited under the First Amendment to the constitution.
“Now, as an election approaches, it’s not just a theory,” the president said. “We can see for ourselves how destructive to our democracy this can become. We see it in the flood of deceptive attack ads sponsored by special interests using front groups with misleading names.”
Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress have submitted a proposal that would require corporate political advertisers to reveal who was funding them. It has been adopted by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
But the president said that Republican leaders had blocked this bill from even coming up for a vote in the Senate.
In a post, the White House called GOP efforts to block the bill a “Republican corporate power grab.”
“It’s politics at its worst,” Obama said, arguing that there existed a collusion between Republican and special interest groups.
“Now, the special interests want to take Congress back, and return to the days when lobbyists wrote the laws,” Obama noted, urging voters to reject this trend in November.
But “the power to determine the fate of this country doesn’t lie in their hands,” the president said. “It lies in yours. It’s up to all of us to defend that most basic American principle of a government of, by, and for the people. What’s at stake is not just an election. It’s our democracy itself.”
This video is from the White House, published Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010.