"I think it's starting to sink in to people what it really means," Moore said. "For them, that their vote -- why would any of us ever contribute even $10 or $25 to a campaign when now a corporation from China can come in and spend pretty much as much money as they want? It really takes the voice of Americans away."
Some on the national stage, including U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, call it a victory for Americans' First Amendment rights. They say no organization, no matter how big or small, should be prevented from having a political voice.
"The incredible cost of media makes it difficult for candidates to communicate, so this should enhance the voters' knowledge when they do go to vote," said Alaska Republican Party Chair Randy Ruedrich. "Their vote matters just as much as it always has, but they may now be more completely informed because with the campaign finance limits that we have in Alaska, it's very hard for candidates to get their message out."
But some people are concerned that the ruling could prevent people from getting involved with politics at the local level. They're afraid people without deep pockets, or financial backers will be discouraged from running.
"It's sort of like the last straw in a haystack of corporate attempts to extend their constitutional rights," said local activist Riki Ott. "And this just really tips the balance now to where we have completely a government of, for and by the corporations."
"We all know that big money already has a lot of influence in politics," said Matt Wallace, director of the Alaska Public Interest Research Group. "The folks that write the big campaign checks tend to get a really good return on their investment, and this decision makes that situation much, much worse."
One of Alaska's largest unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, released a statement about the decision saying it supported campaign finance reform, but it's not happy with the ruling because it puts unions in the position of spending more money.
For their part, state lawmakers are already concerned.
"Well, it's just a tremendous blow to democracy," said one of Moore's callers, Sen. Bill Wielechowski. "The studies are pretty clear that in elections, the candidate that raises more money wins the election 90 percent of the time."
"It's a chilling message, in my view, from corporations -- which are not people," said Sen. Hollis French, also a candidate for governor.
French took the Senate floor Friday morning to announce that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on how the decision will affect Alaska.
French is concerned the petroleum industry would be able to influence state politicians with vast political donations. He pointed out that Exxon, ConocoPhilips and BP have an enormous stake in Alaska's oil tax laws. The Judiciary Committee will round up various campaign-finance experts to testify starting two weeks from now.
"We've got to first hash out whether or not and how deeply it applies to state elections," French said. "That's going to be my focus, but I'm deeply concerned that you're going to have direct corporate spending to influence the election of candidates as early as this fall."
"We should have hearings," said Senate President Gary Stevens. "Our Judiciary Committee will have hearings and decide: do we need to strengthen our laws so there's full disclosure?"
Attorney General Dan Sullivan's office says he is reviewing the decision, but would not elaborate on what kind of action if any he is considering.
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