Bernie Sanders: Thanks to Citizens United, the Top 1% Can “Buy the Government”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said Tuesday night that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling allows the wealthiest Americans to essentially buy democracy.

“With the Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court said to all these billionaires, ‘Go for it!'” said Sanders during an appearance on The Ed Show. “You’re tired of buying coal companies and gambling casinos; you know what you can buy now? You can buy the United States government.”

Terms like ‘plutocracy’ and ‘oligarchy’ are inflammatory but they are “exactly what is happening right now,” he said. “You can own the United States government, you can own various states, you can own county commissioners, you can own governors—pretty good deal.”

Sanders said that to counter the Citizens United ruling, he plans to help pass the DISCLOSE Act, originally introduced by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and later modified by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The act would require full political contribution disclosure, and mandate that the individuals sponsoring political ads state their support within the ads themselves.