Dr. David Gill, Democratic candidate for Congress in Illinois' 15th District, has issued a statement following yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a long-standing prohibition on campaign advocacy by corporations and unions:
"This misguided ruling is a severe blow to our democratic process. Although I am a lifelong champion of First Amendment free speech rights, yesterday's ruling highlights the danger of pushing the legal concept of corporate personhood to an extreme degree. I agree with Justice Stevens in his dissenting opinion when he wondered if anyone truly believes that the infusion of unlimited corporate spending will aid democracy. Congress and the Obama administration must act swiftly and decisively to enact legislative barriers in the body of corporate law to curb the ability of corporations to buy elections and elected officials."
Dr. Gill, an Emergency Room doctor in Bloomington, has made the issue of corporate intrusion into the electoral process a centerpiece of his campaign. Virtually all of his campaign funding comes from individual contributors, rather than corporate lobbyists or even national political parties. On the campaign trail, Dr. Gill frequently notes that his opponent, five-term incumbent Tim Johnson, takes 70 percent of his funding from corporate Political Action Committees. "Until we elect individuals like myself, who refuse to be purchased by corporations," Dr. Gill asserts, "we'll continue to see a government largely unresponsive to the needs of ordinary American citizens."