Dem Senate candidate: Campaign finance ruling ‘worst decision since Dred Scott’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

South Dakota Democratic Senate hopeful Rick Weiland declared Wednesday that the decision handed down in McCutcheon v. FEC regarding campaign finance laws “may be the worst decision made by any Supreme Court since the Dred Scott case reaffirmed slavery in 1857.”

The McCutcheon decision lifts the aggregate caps on political donations, meaning that donors can give the maximum possible donation to every single candidate for federal office, if they so choose, instead of being required to stop giving once they hit a total sum.

Weiland, the likely Democratic nominee to vie for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, called the two cases “striking similar in the indefensible power they give one group of human beings over another,” in a statement, published in full by the Argus Leader.

“In Dred Scott, the Court said people with money had the constitutional right to purchase and enslave other human beings. In its line of ‘money has the right to free speech,’ decisions, including today’s McCutcheon decision, the Court is saying that people with unheard of amounts of money have the constitutional right to enslave our democracy,” Weiland said.

Weiland also knocked Nevada billionaire Sheldon Adelson as an example of how one person with huge amount of money could shape the political scene. Last weekend, four potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates attended an event in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition, an event at which Adelson was a prominent host.

“Leading candidates for the Presidency of the United States have been summoned there by a billionaire who has made his money preying on the gambling addiction of millions of Americans and they are being made to grovel for his ill-gotten billions courtesy of the United States Supreme Court’s decision that money has the right to buy anything it wants, including our democracy,” Weiland said.

He added that the “decision destroys the free speech rights of every American who cannot contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians,” and that it gives billionaires the ability to “not only buy presidential candidates, but… also buy entire political parties.”

He faulted the decision for allowing an “as yet unconvicted mafia Don or druglord” to throw over $2 million into elections and thereby gain more influence than the average voter who cannot donate such an amount.

Weiland said that if he prevailed in the Senate race, his “first act in the Senate” would be to propose an amendment that: “So that the votes of all, rather than the wealth of the few, shall direct the course of this Republic, Congress shall have the power to limit the raising and spending of money with respect to federal elections…,” something he apparently has printed on his business cards.

Weiland will likely face former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds in a general election.

Follow Alexis on Twitter

Alexis Levinson