Thanks to 123kid for sharing a link to the final court decision of DC District Judge Richard W. Roberts in the case of Unity08 v. FEC. Unity08 was a registered corporation with plans to nominate its own candidates for president and vice president in the world’s first national secure online convention in the spring of 2008. Clearly, that didn’t come to pass, but Unity08 wanted it to happen, and as part of its efforts it sued the FEC for the right not only to accept gigantic “loans” at zero percent interest but to hide the sourcing and terms of such loans from the public.
In last fall’s final ruling on the subject, Judge Roberts declared in favor of the FEC, with the reasoning that the fronting of a presidential ticket by a corporation like Unity08 on the basis of undisclosed loans left an opening for significant corruption:
The plaintiffs acknowledge that the “concern that contributions to the candidate could result in
quid pro quo corruption or its appearance is what justifies the impingement on protected speech.” (Pls.’ Mem. at 10 (emphasis in original).) Yet they fail to consider that the appearance of quid pro quo corruption is present when a candidate receives the benefit of appearing on a party ballot – - a ten to twelve million dollar benefit – - solely due to the efforts of Unity08.
Transparent reporting of the amount and terms of loans — required by FEC regulations — is what Unity08 should have been engaging in all along.