Unlike the titles to many of my posts, this is not a rhetorical question. I really don’t know the answer.

The background is that a couple of weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5–4 decision in the Citizens United case that corporations can freely spend money in federal election campaigns. Pandomonium among liberals ensued, with Keith Olbermann nearly stroking out on live TV. But don’t worry. If anything happens to Olbermann, Ben Affleck is willing to take over.

Here are links to Citizens United coverage by the Wall Street Journal and NMC

Am I wrong that corporations were already finding ways to funnel all the money they wanted into election campaigns? For instance, this article discusses corporations funneling millions of dollars into elections via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

The article states:

The Chamber has a several-pronged approach in its campaign to eviscerate the public’s right to take the country’s more detested industries to court. One is to funnel major industry money into state election campaigns, especially races involving judges and state Attorneys General.

On September 11, 2001, a most unfortunate day for a major news story to appear, the Wall Street Journal ran an eye-opening article by Jim VandeHei about how some of this country’s largest corporations were pouring millions of dollars into the Chamber, allowing companies to hide behind the Chamber’s logo while the group did their dirty work.

Last fall, for example, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., DaimlerChrysler AG, Home Depot Inc. and the American Council of Life Insurers all kicked in $1 million each for one of the chamber’s special projects: a TV and direct-mail advertising campaign aimed at helping elect business-friendly judges.

Indeed, that year the Chamber raised over $5 million targeting judges in Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana and Alabama who had, according to the Journal, "rendered verdicts against one or more of the companies contributing to the effort."  

No wonder secrecy is a hallmark of the U.S. Chamber/ILR’s strategy when getting involved in these electoral races. Indeed, the organization sometimes goes to great lengths to keep its involvement and funding a secret.

This leaves me wondering about what will be the practical difference in the new law, if any.