(Satire warning: The Club for Circumventing Justice does not actually exist, nor, as far as I know, has it existed in the past. I, of course, am not a member and never have been, though I do exist.–JK)
The Club for Circumventing Justice would like to thank the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal judge in Wisconsin for upholding a legal theory we have long tried to bring to pass: laws, however just and in the public interest they may be, that restrict the power of wealth and privilege are onerous to the wealthy and privileged, namely us, and ought to be undermined when possible.
Campaign finance laws have always struck us as unfair limitations on the reach and power of our power, so we are heartened by recent legal rulings pooh-poohing campaign finance laws as deserving only circumvention in defense of our, excuse us, the freedom of speech. As Judge Randa so movingly puts it, “that circumvention should not and cannot be condemned or restricted.” Freedom isn’t free, after all. And the more money and power you have the more freedom (and circumvention) you should be able to purchase. It’s simply the American Way. And good, circumventing lawyers do cost a fair amount of money.
The idea that by advocating for partisan positions on major issues we are at the same time endorsing certain political candidates is absurd. It is obviously not “express advocacy” because we do not expressly mention the candidate’s name, or expressly use the word “vote” or the word “elect.” No name, no candidate, no foul. The Club, we hasten to add, did not expressly pass the current laws circumventing any hope of public campaign financing. Besides, Americans who watch or hear political issue advertisements do not mentally connect issues and candidates, just as many, thank God, do not connect wealth with undue influence. Our Club exists to surreptitiously promote the disconnection of everything, for this is the land of individuals, every man and woman and child and bird and issue for himself.
While it is true that the Wisconsin Statutes do not, for the purposes of campaign laws, actually restrict the definition of “political purposes” to “express advocacy” (the language is “acts . . . include but are not limited to” ), [see 11.01 (16) (a)] we are pleased that this clause is being officially circumvented by being judiciously ignored.
We at the Club for Circumventing Justice also approve of the legal notion that only a group’s actual giving of actual cash to an actual candidate to obtain an actual favor is actually political corruption. This may be a circumvention of logic, as well as justice, but it does provide us with the cover we need to
buy influence bankroll encourage support elect the surrogate corporation person we prefer. As we all know, and the Supreme Court has affirmed, large lump sums of private cash, the obscene wealth of certain individuals and organizations have no bearing whatsoever on the outcomes and performance of our theoretical democracy, at least theoretically.
But just to make sure, we prefer to err on the side of what we prefer to call public/private collaboration–the right to freely associate and spend donors’s money in the utmost anonymity. For if government can limit the amount of money and the amount of anonymous collaboration available to we the people, the danger is that we exorbitantly privileged and clever people will lose the rights we have lately gained, or as Judge Randa so beautifully puts it,
“It is a recognition that maximizing First Amendment freedom is a better way to deal with political corruption than allowing the seemingly corruptible to do it. As other histories tell us, attempts to purify the public square lead to places like the Guillotine and the Gulag.”
We of the Club could not agree more with Judge Randa; why should we allow potentially corrupt politicians to regulate how we maximize our corrupting cash and influence? If they limit our spending, they might as well chop off our heads or send us to jail or seat us in coach. Some unfortunate Americans not in our Club have pointed out that actual American history tells things about what happens when the nation lets the public square do as it pleases: public hangings, abominable pollution, dangerous products and so forth. But our faith in buying free speech and selling the free market is still absolute and will remain so as long as we remain wealthier than most.
There are, to be sure, many other areas of political importance whose laws the Club would like to circumspectly circumvent, laws of both man and nature, which we intend to attack quietly with money and, thanks again to the Supreme Court, prayer in government buildings as well as churches. God is indeed the Supreme Judge, and we prefer to take our case to the Highest Court and thereby circumvent the entire U.S. and international systems of justice, God willing.
In the Club for Circumventing Justice we have a saying, an informal motto of sorts, that makes us chuckle whenever we gather as a group: “Justice is blind . . . and poor.” It’s a joke that keeps us focused.