“We’re Up to $60 Million”
It’s an unreasonably warm October day, and I’m milling about awkwardly with a handful of suits at a mixer in a small banquet hall at Newport Beach’s Pacific Club—which, according to its website, is the gathering place of choice for the “distinctive life-style of Orange County’s business and professional leaders.”
An incredible thirst suddenly overwhelms me, as I look down and see I’ve practically sweated through my cheap suit. I try my best to keep control of my decorum, but when a busser passes by with a lone Arnold Palmer on his tray, I snatch it greedily from the outstretched hands of another guest and suck the saccharine concoction down in one gulp.
The hot weather may be playing a small role in my odd behavior, but my discomfort is mainly due to the fact this is no ordinary mixer. I’ve successfully infiltrated one of the most powerful and secretive Republican organizations in the country: The Lincoln Club of Orange County.
Just mentioning the Citizens United case is enough to boil some folks’ blood. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205 (U.S. Jan. 21, 2010) to use its full name, was the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that corporations and unions have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment.
The decision, equating campaign money with speech, opened the floodgates for, as some have put it, turning elections into auctions.
But, although a lot of us know something about the decision, mostly focused on its consequences, not enough of us know enough about the case itself—and some of the truly devious people behind it—and we should know.
But before we can begin connecting the dots, we need to identify the dots.
First Dot: Citizens United
The group is a conservative lobbying and propaganda shop located in Washington,