The corruption case against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez has become a battleground over the controversial Supreme Court decision that allowed the flood of campaign money that is reshaping elections. In legal filings and a recent ruling, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and a district court judge have jousted over the limits of the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which opened the door to unlimited donations to independent political groups, such as super PACs and campaign-minded nonprofits. The Menendez case is the first since the decision to use super-PAC donations as the basis for corruption charges against a lawmaker. It has touched a raw nerve in the debate over the influence of independent expenditures, said Kenneth Gross, a lawyer specializing in campaign finance.
Menendez has been an outspoken critic of Citizens United, railing against “unlimited, secret, big-money corporate donations” and cosponsoring bills to require more disclosure.
But as the Democratic senator faces prison, his lawyers have seized on the ruling. They point to its conclusion, which said independent expenditures “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
Full Article: In Menendez case, Citizens United also on trial.