Candidate Ed Gillespie was Notable and Quotable in the WSJ on Monday. This man I usually liked when he was a commentator, just barely lost Virginia Senate Race in November, supported by disillusioned voters who were upset by something—the Influence Economy I’m not so sure.

He complains that the executive branch (read: President Obama)

“recognizes fewer and fewer limits on its authority…because [he] disdains the checks and balances…”.

WSJ no doubt ran this because of recent unilateral executive action on immigration. As I said, I kind of like Gillespie, but on this he is wrong.

On Oct. 23rd I blogged about Multi-Disciplinary Practices of lobbyists and lawyers and discussed the seminal Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) case. Mr. Gillespie might consider the extent to which his Influence Economy is supported by the SCOTUS and not the presidential disdain he complains of.

For instance, Justice Breyer (not the most liberal of Justices) recently held in dissent:

“Thus, Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so.”

Am. Tradition P’ship, Inc. v. Bullock, 132 S. Ct. 2490, 2491-92 (2012).


The Citizens United case is now being used prophylactically, just as its opponents predicted, to enable the Influence Economy Gillespie professes to deplore. Not so much corruption, but the business as usual, money talks, etc. etc. Gillespie correctly describes. The remedy? Congressional action to roll back Citizens United. Good luck on that, and keeping it too with the SCOTUS approach.


I should add that Citizens United appears to be well-reasoned and supported by a right we hold dear. It’s just that PAC behavior isn’t exactly speech. Maybe the right Congressman or Senator could draw the legislative distinction in a way to diminish the Influence Economy without diminishing our freedom of speech. But Obama didn’t do this, and actively opposes it, as Candidate Gillespie well knows.