The Citizens United decision was seen as a huge win for free speech. The ruling was embraced by Republicans as a victory. The Supreme Court relied on past precedent which resulted in the correct ruling. However, Democrats largely decried the decision as opening up the floodgates for special interests and dark money. The most high-profile detractor for the Democrats was President Obama. During his 2010 State of the Union address he said, “Citizens United reversed a century of law to open the floodgates—including foreign corporations—to spend money without limits in our elections.” Justice Alito did the right thing by shaking his head and mouthing “not true.” As one could imagine, President Obama and fellow liberals’ doomsday predictions have not come true.
Four years later, an article published in The Hill discusses how liberals originally did not want to accept the ruling of Citizens United—paving the way for Super PACs—but came around when they realized it could benefit them. The 2010 election was the first election following the Citizens United ruling. Democrats did not embrace the ruling, so prevented establishing these outside groups, seemingly out of principle. The 2010 election resulted in the Democrats losing the House, so they were faced with a choice of siding with their principles or winning an election. Predictably, they chose the latter.
In fact, three of the biggest Super PACs in the 2014 cycle are liberal leaning or controlled by the Democratic party. This proves that Democrats can flip-flop just because they lose one election. When they can’t change their minds, they just use the Obama administration to do their dirty work for them. The second prong of the Democrats campaign finance approach is pressuring the IRS for more restrictive rules for 501(c)(4) groups because they are being outspent and outmaneuvered by Republicans.
The Democrats went from decrying the Citizens United opinion to embracing it fully only a few years later. To avoid changing sides on another issue, Obama is taking matters into his own hands by regulating Republican groups out of the election. This hypocrisy proves that Democrats are willing to stand on their principles until they see their power slipping away.
Guest Post by a friend of RNLA. Views reflect the authors.