Franken marks Citizens United anniversary with email campaign

WASHINGTON — Happy anniversary, Citizens United. Here’s an email — or two or three — from Sen. Al Franken to mark the occasion.

Franken, a vocal critic of the four-year-old Supreme Court decision, sent his supporters a fundraising appeal this morning (“Thanks for helping me wish Citizens United a terrible birthday,” he wrote). Later, he asked them to support an anti-Citizens United resolution at February’s precinct caucuses. Then Sen. Amy Klobuchar chipped in, sending a Citizens United-themed fundraising request on Franken’s behalf to her email list (Franken was asking for $50,000 in donations; Klobuchar set a more ambitious goal of $100,000).

Franken — up for re-election this fall — has long opposed the Supreme Court’s decision in the case, which opened the door to unlimited campaign spending from corporations and labor unions and precipitated the rise of super PACs. Last year, he helped introduce a bill that would have forced political organizations to disclose the identities of their biggest donors, but the bill failed twice on the Senate floor.

(While we’re talking about campaign finance, here’s something to watch: the Supreme Court heard a challenge to federal limits on individual campaign donations last fall. A decision in that case — McCutcheon v. FEC — could come any time.)

Anyone on a Democratic emailing list may have noticed the occasional reference to the Koch brothers or Karl Rove in fundraising pitches so far this cycle. Both ran massive Republican super PACs in 2012, and are apparently effective enough boogeymen for Democratic donors to warren a mention in fundraising emails.

They got one in Franken’s note today: “Maybe it might motivate you to imagine Karl Rove and the Koch brothers wearing party hats and frowns because our Day of Action ruined their Citizens United party? I thought so.”

Devin Henry can be reached at

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/21/2014 - 09:30 pm.

    So we can buy Senator Franken’s vote?

    Just using the logic that “Karl Rove and the Koch brothers” are buying one side, then it means that Franken and Klobuchar supporters are buying votes on the other side. And don’t we all want to be more like Rove and Koch?

  2. Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 01/22/2014 - 09:18 am.

    If “corporations are people”, then make them follow “people laws

    First, require them to file personal income tax returns–with all the personal limitations all other “people” have to face. Which means no corporate deductions–and that cuts out 95% of the tax code. Suddenly, there is massive unemployment of corporate tax accountants and lawyers. They will have to go out and find “real” jobs all of a sudden.

    Second, corporations will be required to buy health insurance for themselves or else pay a fine. That should prove to be a fun game to watch. The corporation has no acceptable ID (no birth certificate) of any type so it can not get a Social Security number or a driver’s license.

    Third, if someone is driving a company car, can they automatically drive in the carpool lane because the “corporate person” is also in the car? How many cars *simultaneously* can that “corporate person’ be in?

    How do you tell if a corporation is male or female? It is important because it may not be permitted for corporations of the same sex to be married (=merger). Companies can no longer be “bought and sold”, which kills the stock market, because the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibited the ownership of people (and “corporations are people”).

    Corporations can not be closed as that is the “killing of a person” and murder is a criminal offense under the law.

    Once you have an idea, you have conceived it. Per the religious right wing, “life begins at conception”. Congratulations, you are now a parent !! Take the tax deductions.

  3. Submitted by mark wallek on 01/22/2014 - 11:24 am.

    Good show

    Rather than “fighting against” the rot that is now systemic, we need to be looking at an electoral process that is citizen oriented, not one percent ruled. Without money, there is no running for office. All candidates are vetted by whom? The money people. So it’s time to take the money completely out of the electoral process. It can be done, with truly public elections. Fixed budgets provided, no advertising and, as a cost of doing business in America, from September thru November all television and radio media must donate some amount of time, significant amounts to be determined, and ALL candidates will debate. These are just a couple of ideas for taking elections out of the elitist grip, and I’m sure other people can come up with more. The idea here is that the current occupants will, for the most part, maintain the status quo to the highest degree possible, because it serves them. And as our elected officials have demonstrated, they’re not doing much to support the citizen, though they do talk.

  4. Submitted by Jon Lord on 01/23/2014 - 09:26 am.


    If one looks back through the history of our country and the politics involved, it appears we are repeating the last century all over again. ‘Almost’ exactly as we did 100 years ago from the 1890’s, perhaps earlier, heading maybe to a repeat of the 1920’s. A lot of things have changed since then, like the clothing styles and the tech, the surface stuff, but the way we think is what’s important. That doesn’t necessarily change because clothing styles and tech, the surface stuff, does. The Big Money families ruled back then like they are attempting to do today and they brought us the Great Depression through their actions. It’s hardly of the people by the people for the people when big money rules our politics. Big money brings with it an unbalanced advantage to the political scene and in so doing brings an unbalanced advantage for the big money families. Without fair balance, the rich get richer and the rest of us will continue to get poorer.

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