NBC Warns: Supreme Court 'Opens the Door Even Wider for Unlimited Money in Politics'

On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander decried Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling striking down some campaign finance restrictions: "So just consider this, in just twelve year from the 2000 elections to those in 2012, total campaign spending in this country doubled from $3 billion to $6.3 billion. And the Supreme Court ruling now opens the door even wider for unlimited money in politics that has obviously already skyrocketed." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Alexander assumed viewers agreed with that liberal narrative: "And you thought there was already too much money in politics. Fasten your seat belts. From now on, there's gonna be a whole lot more. The Supreme Court struck down a decades-old campaign law..."

After playing a sound bite of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus explaining that "money in politics is speech," Alexander used a sensational analogy to put his own spin on the court decision:

What does it mean? Before the Court's ruling, a wealthy donor could only give the maximum contribution, $2,600, to eighteen different candidates for a total donation of nearly $50,000. But now the donor can give that same contribution to an unlimited number of candidates, with no cap on the total cost. Better yet, think of it like you're at a casino where each table has a maximum bet. Now donors are allowed to bet the max on every table in the room, every table in Vegas.

A clip followed of Sheila Krumholz from OpenSecrets.org proclaiming: "Mega donors have just bought themselves a lot more clout and influence in Washington....And the question is, what might they get in exchange for their donation?"

Alexander wrapped up the slanted segment by worrying: "...experts say that this latest ruling is gonna sweeten the pot for candidates and for political parties, enticing them to devote even more time...to finding and locking in the country's most rich and powerful as donors."

News anchor Natalie Morales responded with the favorite liberal talking point about the ruling: "It's going to open up those floodgates."

Neither CBS This Morning nor ABC's Good Morning America mentioned the Supreme Court decision on Thursday.

On Wednesday, both NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News framed the ruling as a blow to democracy. ABC's World News did not cover the story.  


Here is a full transcript of Alexander's April 3 report on Today:

7:12 AM ET

NATALIE MORALES: A big shake-up in the nation's capital on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down restrictions on the total amount of cash that a person can give to all federal candidates for office. NBC's White House correspondent Peter Alexander has the story. Peter, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Campaign Finance Rules Loosened; Supreme Court Strikes Down Money Limit]

PETER ALEXANDER: Hi, Natalie, good morning to you. So just consider this, in just twelve year from the 2000 elections to those in 2012, total campaign spending in this country doubled from $3 billion to $6.3 billion. And the Supreme Court ruling now opens the door even wider for unlimited money in politics that has obviously already skyrocketed.

[MONTAGE OF 2014 CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN ADS]

And you thought there was already too much money in politics. Fasten your seat belts. From now on, there's gonna be a whole lot more. The Supreme Court struck down a decades-old campaign law that capped the total amount of political contributions any one person can give during any single campaign.

REINCE PRIEBUS [REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]: Money in politics is speech, whether you're giving one dollar or a thousand dollars to candidates. It is speech. It's speech through your own resources as to who you want to support.

ALEXANDER: What does it mean? Before the Court's ruling, a wealthy donor could only give the maximum contribution, $2,600, to eighteen different candidates for a total donation of nearly $50,000. But now the donor can give that same contribution to an unlimited number of candidates, with no cap on the total cost. Better yet, think of it like you're at a casino where each table has a maximum bet. Now donors are allowed to bet the max on every table in the room, every table in Vegas.

SHEILA KRUMHOLZ [OPENSECRETS.ORG]: Mega donors have just bought themselves a lot more clout and influence in Washington. They'll have an open door, phone calls will be answered. And the question is, what might they get in exchange for their donation?

ALEXANDER: So the bottom line here is experts say that this latest ruling is gonna sweeten the pot for candidates and for political parties, enticing them to devote even more time, Natalie, to finding and locking in the country's most rich and powerful as donors.

MORALES: It's going to open up those floodgates. Peter Alexander at the White House, thanks so much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC