Senator Feingold speaks against Citizens United

Photo courtesy of Julie Liesse

The Young Progressives club invited Senator Russ Feingold to speak about his stance on finances in the government. Students, teachers, and parents attended the speech and later engaged in a Q & A about current issues in politics.

Feingold has been in the legislature for 28 years and was the only Democratic senator to vote against the U.S. Patriot Act.  He also proposed the McCain-Feingold bill which was a bipartisan form that regulated finances in campaigns.

At the event, Feingold discussed the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission court case which ruled 5 to 4 in favor of permitting corporations to donate to political campaigns.

“Corporations will pervert our elections since outside donations will become unlimited,” Feingold said.

Feingold spent the night defending the McCain-Feingold bill and declared that the Citizens United decision needs to be overturned. Feingold said if the case was upheld, there would be “Republican and Democratic toothpaste.” By this, Feingold meant that when consumers or potential voters went into stores they would be indirectly promoting a political party by buying a certain product. He believed that this essentially would hurt corporations since the number of consumers for a donating company would reduce.

“It creates a corporate problem and is a bad thing for the economy,” Feingold said.

Feingold believed the involvement of business in the government would ruin the old political process.  With the decision, the government would “pass the wishes of whatever the corporations wanted.”

Feingold later spoke about overturning the decision sooner than later in order to avoid “delegitimizing” the Supreme Court and to return to the old political process.

As it was the night of the final presidential debate of the election, Feingold presented for an hour before rushing back to Wisconsin to support his candidate.