Feingold starts group to fight corporate political influence

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Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., has launched an organization to fight back against corporate influence in politics.

The Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel reports that Feingold hopes Progressives United will spark “a new progressive movement” that will build a grassroots movement to mitigate – and eventually overturn – the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which enabled unlimited corporate spending in the political campaigns.

"In my view – and the view of many people – it's one of the most lawless decisions in the history of our country," Feingold told HuffPo. "The idea of allowing corporations to have unlimited influence on our democracy is very dangerous, obviously. That's exactly what it does ... Things were like this 100 years ago in the United States, with the huge corporate and business power of the oil companies and others. But this time it's like the Gilded Age on steroids.”

Feingold, long a champion of campaign finance reform, lost his re-election bid in 2010 against wealthy political newcomer Ron Johnson, who benefited from $3 million dollars in independent third-party advertising. Feingold received about $1 million worth of such advertising but refused to accept any ads from the kind of third-party groups that the Citizens United decision bolstered.

Johnson’s campaign spent a total of $14 million, while Feingold spend $13 million, making their race the most expensive campaign for federal office in Wisconsin history.

Feingold’s new political action committee will support progressive candidates at the local, state and national levels, in addition to holding the media and elected officials accountable on the group’s key priorities, HuffPo reports.

Feingold is currently teaching law school at Marquette University and writing a book on foreign policy.

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