Writing in the Washington Examiner, Timothy Carney has a fascinating item about how Senator Schumer, the senior Democrat of New York, is denouncing the Supreme Court ruling opening up campaign speech by corporations, even though he's already awash in corporate campaign contributions, and even though a dozen of Mr. Schumer's former staffers are registered Washington lobbyists. Writes Mr. Carney, "set free of from Congress's speech regulations, non-profits and corporations might not rely so much on these indirect means of political influence. That means less campaign cash coming into Schumer, fewer corporations courting Schumer's staff, and less sucking up to Schumer by lobbyists."
In the dissent in the Supreme Court case, Justice Stevens, writing for himself and Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg, actually addressed a variation of the "incumbent protection" argument raised by Mr. Carney. Justice Stevens claimed that the electioneering banned by the law the majority struck down yesterday "might well tend to favor incumbents, because incumbents have pre-existing relationships with corporations and unions, and groups that wish to procure legislative benefits may tend to support the candidate who, as a sitting officeholder, is already in a position to dispense benefits and is statistically likely to retain office. If a corporation's goal is to induce officeholders to do its bidding, the corporation would do well to cultivate stable, long-term relationships of dependency."
Justice Stevens added, "Finally, it is important to remember just how incumbent-friendly congressional races were" before the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 passed. "As the Solicitor General aptly remarked at the time, 'the evidence supports overwhelmingly that incumbents were able to get re-elected under the old system just fine.'"