The Court’s Bold Decision

Statement by Bob Hall, Executive Director of
Democracy North Carolina, on the Citizens United v. FEC Decision:


"Today’s distressing, but predictable decision is another step by the U.S. Supreme Court to turn public elections into private auctions.


We already see how wealthy interests can distort the debates over health care, energy and financial reform; we don’t need corporations to have more ability to intimidate lawmakers with the threat of massive spending in their elections. The Court’s decision encourages a “pay to play” system and treats common-sense regulation of the flow of money in politics as a restriction on free speech. It is not: Previous court decisions said the content of speech is protected from censorship, but the financing of a political message must follow certain rules to protect the integrity of the election process. The majority on this Court disagrees and intends to give more power to wealthy corporations, foreign or domestic, non-profit or for-profit, even if their spending undermines the chance for a fair election or fair debate on a policy matter.


It’s an astonishing decision, as predicted, in its boldness and ambitious reach. Regulation of private money in politics has gotten much more difficult. The decision dramatizes the need for a new approach to challenge the arms race in political fundraising and spending. It points to the importance of creating an alternative stream of clean money through a public financing option for candidates who abide by a set of public-trust standards. Public financing gives candidates the ability to compete and encourages them to be accountable to voters, not wealthy narrow interests. As the regulation of large wealthy interests becomes more impossible, it becomes more necessary to boost the power of small donors and voters through voluntary Voter-Owned Election programs."


Please sign the Democracy NC petition for expanding public financing programs in North Carolina and nationally.


To read our Overview describing the implications of the Citiziens United case, click here.


Find a set of news articles, statements and blogs about the case here and here.


If you are a member of the media, you can reach Bob Hall directly at 919-489-1931 or


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