A big reason that Citizens United was such a blow to equal democracy is that it enabled corporations to pump money into elections in new and anonymous ways. Even before that Supreme Court decision, though, campaign finance law already included a major loophole that allows for gigantic -- and perfectly legal -- corporate donations to a sitting president or president-elect.
According to a new analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, several corporations made massive donations to the Presidential Inaugural Committee in the lead-up to his second swearing-in earlier this year.
Foremost among these was AT&T, which gave $4.6 million to the Committee. Microsoft gave $2.1 million, Boeing gave $1 million, and Chevron gave $1 million.
Beyond that, a number of other corporations (and trade unions) gave donations over $250,000, including ExxonMobil. Needless to say, many of these companies are deeply affected by actions of the Obama Administration.
These figures are striking in that they dramatically exceed the limits on political contributions allowed to candidates and party committees. And what's so disappointing, as I wrote here before the inauguration, is that the President's acceptance of corporate contributions for his inauguration was a reversal of the stance he took in 2009, when only individuals could give and gifts were limited to $50,000.
The 2012 election was the last time Barack Obama will run for any office, so why open open the floodgates to corporate money after winning that race?