Obama has harsh words over corporate campaign money
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama blasted "unscrupulous corporations" and "special interests" that seek to influence U.S. elections on Monday as he nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Obama noted that Kagan had represented the U.S. government before the court in the "Citizens United" case, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in January to allow corporations, unions and other groups to spend unlimited funds on political campaigns.
"During her time in this office, she has repeatedly defended the rights of shareholders and ordinary citizens against unscrupulous corporations," Obama said as he officially announced that Kagan would be the nominee.
"In the Citizens United case, she defended bipartisan campaign finance reform against special interests seeking to spend unlimited money to influence our elections," Obama said.
The ruling is expected to unleash a flood of money from the traditional pro-Republican business community to campaigns designed to favor or oppose candidates in this year's congressional elections and the 2012 presidential contest.
Obama took the unusual step of criticizing the ruling in his State of the Union speech in January.
The president praised Kagan for making the case the first she argued before the court, calling that a demonstration of Kagan's commitment to serving the public interest.
"It says a great deal about her commitment to protect our fundamental rights, because in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voice of ordinary citizens," Obama said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Stacey Joyce)
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