Citizens United – the group that brought the case that allowed corporate money to destroy our democracy – was recently handed a defeat in the state of New York where they tried to prevent charities from having to disclose their donors. Mike Papantonio and Peter Mougey discuss this.

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Mike Papantonio: You know, Citizens United, the group that brought the case that allowed corporate money to destroy our democracy was recently handed a defeat in the state of New York where they tried to prevent charities from having to disclose their super donor. Peter, incredible case because think of what the donors were saying. Here you had these mega billionaires that were saying, “We have a first amendment right to keep it quiet where we’re spending our money,” and I love that the court rejected and said, “That’s nonsense.” This is only second circuit. It hasn’t gotten the Supreme’s. It’ll be tested in the Supreme. Give me your take on this. I love this decision. They said, “Look, there’s no impermissible chilling of speech by you having to disclose who you are when you give a gazillion dollars.” What’s your take?

Peter Mougey: Well, Citizens United wanted to keep their donors secret. They didn’t want people to know. They didn’t want the regulators to know. They wanted to keep them secret and didn’t want anybody to find out or determine who was the one that was funding Citizens United. I think it’s imperative that when you have these stories hitting the national press, you have these theme and these campaigns. You have the elections that are being influenced by some of these organizations. You want to know who’s funding it. You want to know is this an objective message? You want to know who’s pushing the message, what corporations are behind it, what individuals are behind it and that’s all we’re asking for.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, well, most of the time, what you have is you have the haves versus the have nots on any kind of issue. Well, best example I could give you is California. They’ll have a referendum. Last referendum was, “We want to know if there’s a GMO product that we’re buying. We have a right to know that.” Okay, well you got the people that say, “We have the right to know.” They can raise 1,000 here and 1,000 there and then you’ve got [Monsana 00:01:53] with these other companies that have such big money that it’s not even a fair fight.

Peter Mougey: The playing field’s not level. I mean, you got on hand, you’ve got these mega corporations, these mega billionaires like the Coke brothers, exactly and you want to know where these messages coming from. It just seems like common sense and it levels the playing field and so all the parties have access to equal information.

Mike Papantonio: I thought it was interesting. The mega donor said, “You know what you’re gonna do is create a climate of fear among us, that we’re gonna be fearful when it comes to funding.” Fearful of what?

Peter Mougey: Impermissible chill speech or assembly is what they were claiming. Ridiculous.

Mike Papantonio: Hopefully, of course this is second circuit decision. The chances of this Supreme Court doing much to change anything about Citizens United, I mean, you got Roberts. It’s a Roberts court. He’s the one that actually made Citizen United happen.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.