Senator Schumer is the one heading up Congress's effort to rewrite the campaign finance laws in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the New York Times reports in an editorial today. The Times, which owes its continued existence to loans and investments controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, is nevertheless free to endorse candidates in its editorial columns and campaign for or against them in its news pages. Without any reference to Mr. Slim, the Times editorializes in favor of "an airtight ban on foreign intrusion in federal elections" and warns, "The court ruling could open the door to abuse by domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations. Existing laws against foreign influence are porous." What hypocrisy. Nor is there any mention in the Times editorial of the point made by Justice Thomas in his remarks the other day:
"I found it fascinating that the people who were editorializing against it were The New York Times Company and The Washington Post Company," Justice Thomas said. "These are corporations."
The Times's report of Justice Thomas's remarks also included some fascinating historical background on the Tillman Act, which banned corporate contributions to federal candidates in 1907.
"Go back and read why Tillman introduced that legislation," Justice Thomas said, referring to Senator Benjamin Tillman. "Tillman was from South Carolina, and as I hear the story he was concerned that the corporations, Republican corporations, were favorable toward blacks and he felt that there was a need to regulate them."
It is thus a mistake, the justice said, to applaud the regulation of corporate speech as "some sort of beatific action."
Meanwhile, the news that the Democrats have put Mr. Schumer, one of their top corporate fundraisers, in charge of rewriting the campaign finance laws as they apply to corporations only underscores how on-target the astute Tim Carney had it in a blog item in the Washington Examiner in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling. Mr. Carney noted that the ruling would open up ways for corporations to influence the public debate directly, rather than having to go through Mr. Schumer by having their employees give him campaign money or hiring his former staffers as lobbyists. The analysis by Mr. Carney, who is a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., and the author of the book Obamanomics, deserves more attention than it's gotten.