Republicans from New York and Tennessee have filed a federal lawsuit against the pay-to-play laws that prohibit “governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street executives who manage their states’ pension funds,” Salon reported. The unruled-upon lawsuit itself could possibly be the most disgusting attempt to break down the wall between money and politics.
In the suit, the GOP plaintiffs argue that large political contributions sourced from the well of public pensions should be protected by the First Amendment. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) set the pay-to-play rule in place to guard the $3 trillion pension system from “being handed out based on politicians’ desire to pay back their campaign donors,” according to Salon.
“We see (the current SEC rule) as something that has been a great detriment to our ability to help out candidates,” said Jason Weingarten of New York’s Republican Party, which was the exact group whose pay-to-play scandal caused the SEC to forge the law.
Weeks before the lawsuit, Salon noted, the SEC issued the first fines under the pay-to-play rule. Those allegedly involved include a firm tasked with managing Pennsylvania’s and Philadelphia’s pension funds and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
“We will use all available enforcement tools to ensure that public pension funds are protected from any potential corrupting influences,” said Andrew Ceresney of the SEC. “As we have done with broker-dealers, we will hold investment advisers strictly liable for pay-to-play violations.”
Some may have thought that Citizens United would be the end all be all of campaign finance law. However, it has opened the floodgates for mostly Republican politicians to abuse the system and rewrite the rules to create their own game of political kickbacks and favoritism.