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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript


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Let`s turn to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. He joins us tonight. Governor, great to have you with us.

You know, I know you`re a positive guy. I`m a positive guy. You`ve
been in business. I`ve been in business. I`m trying to find the silver lining of something positive in this ruling. I mean, they have told you in your state, you know, for 100 years, you folks have had it wrong. We`re going to make it right so corporations can come in and just spend anything they want to spend in elections.

What`s your gut instinct and your feeling, Governor?

GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), MONTANA: Well, over 100 years ago, it was two copper kings who owned all of Montana. They were the two richest people on the planet. They were both gazillionaires and they owned all of the politics in Montana. They owned every one of the legislators. In fact, when we first sent the United States senator to Washington, D.C., he bribed his way in and they wouldn`t even seat him. We were so corrupt. So, it wasn`t the Montana legislature that passed this law. It was the Montana citizens who stood up 100 years ago, passed a referendum and said we will not allow the moneyed interest and the international corporations to own Montana anymore.

And so, we ran 100 years of clean elections. And now the Supreme Court back there in Washington, D.C., they think they know better for us in Montana. They tell us that now we have to accept dirty, secret, corporate, and even foreign money pouring into Montana, taking over our -- everything from the courthouse all the way to the statehouse.

And I`ll promise you this, until we get this reversed, the corporate interests, and they will be foreign corporate interests as well, they`re going to own everything from the White House to the courthouse. That`s what`s in store for us.

SCHULTZ: Does this ruling leave you with any options that are positive? I mean, look, I know that part of the country, you go to a pot luck fund-raiser $100 is a hell of a gift in rural America, not just in Montana. And now, this money is going to be pouring in. They`re going to be able to cash whip (ph) judges. They`re going to be able to cash whip elections and legislatures . They`re going to get the laws they want so they can run roughshod over the people. If I`m wrong, Governor, please tell me.

SCHWEITZER: You`re not wrong. You`re absolutely right. You know, for 100 years, we`ve had very low limits. A citizen legislator could be elected and the maximum contribution they could take from an individual was $160. They couldn`t take corporate money.

We elected our legislators for between $2,000 and $5,000. That was really a citizen legislature. We`ve had clean elections in Montana.And now, the corporate interests -- and they will be international corporate interests because there are many international companies involved in the natural resource business -- they`re going to pour their money back in and buy the cheapest government money can buy.

SCHULTZ: Well, that`s a cheap government because of course the media markets in states like yours, you know, it`s pretty easy to buy and pony
up, no doubt about that.

Now, the states joining Montana, basically urge the Supreme Court to consider how fragile the democratic process is in these state and local elections. Does this ruling really cripple the democratic process? Give us your future crystal ball, what does this mean?

SCHWEITZER: Well, it`s still one person one vote, and that`s what they`ll tell you. One person, one vote, and just because we`re giving corporations the same rights as persons, we`re not giving them a vote.

But let`s face it, money is power. Money buys television advertisement, and if you have enough money buying enough television advertisement, you can sway the election. Not just sway, you can buy the election. And so, there`s not going to be the other side of the story.

So today, we have two-party system. Well, in the future, we`ll have a two-party system as well. The corporate party and corporate light party, because anybody who stands up to the dirty corporate, secret, even foreign corporation money, they`ll squash you like a bug.

The big pharmaceutical companies, the military industrial complex, the insurance companies -- if anybody stands up to them, they`ll drop $1 million or $2 million or $10 million, whatever it takes, and they`ll just put you right out of business. And that voice for the people will be lost.

SCHULTZ: A second wave of Citizens United. I think we lost a little bit of America today. I hope I`m wrong.


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