Take the Washington Post, for example, whose editors have over time staked out their reasoned opposition to the landmark Citizens United decision. That decision, the latest big one in campaign finance law, permitted unlimited donations by individuals for the sake of independent political expenditures, which have since proliferated. It also freed businesses to spend directly on such expenditures, but this, contrary to advance scaremongering and current perceptions, has never really taken off. In its recent eulogy of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Post’s editors referred to Citizens United as “the court’s ill-considered creation of corporate free-speech rights in political donations.” In 2016, they lamented the state of money in politics, arguing that the creation of the super PAC and its unlimited individual donations was creating an “oligarchy” of political participation and had “the potential to warp the political system .” Given that the majority opinion in Citizens United presupposed some regimen for the disclosure of political spending, the Post’s editors have also argued for a measure to require donor disclosure by nonprofit organizations that run issue ads during election season. “ What, exactly, is the problem with transparency ?” they ask. Except, it really isn’t. For, at the moment, the Washington Post Company is in court challenging a Maryland campaign finance law. The law imposes heavy disclosure rules for online political ads. Not only does it demand robust disclosure messages like those required on television, but it also forces newspapers themselves to furnish and constantly update information about ad buyers. The Washington Post’s attorneys argue that this state law violates the First Amendment by compelling news websites to publish what they would rather not.
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Labor used Question Time in parliament on Wednesday to ask seven of the nine Cabinet ministers who voted for Dutton whether they still supported Turnbull. All seven had tendered their resignations to Turnbull, who refused them in an attempt to show unity and later said he had been given “unequivocal assurances of continuing loyalty”. Dutton and one other opponent were allowed to leave the ministry. Turnbull’s decision to dump his unpopular plan to cut corporate tax rates to 25 percent from 30 percent was seen as an attempt to curry favor with colleagues. His plan echoed that of U.S. President Donald Trump but, with record corporate profits and stagnant wage growth, the policy has proved widely unpopular with voters. “It is clear that the policy was never going to be an election-winning one. There has been some concern within the backbench about policy, it will show them that he is listening,” said Rod Tiffen, emeritus professor of political science at Sydney University. The upper house Senate rejected the policy on Wednesday and Turnbull said soon after he would no longer pursue it. “We will not be taking the tax cuts for larger companies to the next election,” he told reporters in Canberra.
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