The US Supreme Court on Friday gave a green signal to big business and unions to spend as freely as they like to support or oppose Presidential and Congressional candidates, a verdict sharply condemned by President Barack Obama and other lawmakers.
The nine justices of the apex court were divided 5-4 on the ruling that eased decade-old limit on business efforts to influence federal campaigns.
President Obama termed the court decision liberalising campaign financing as a major victory for the large lobbying groups, Wall Street and the health insurance companies and vowed to work immediately with the Congress against it. Lawmakers termed the court's verdict as "shameful" for US democracy.
"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics," Obama said in a statement.
The decision could drastically alter who gives and gets hundreds of millions of dollars in this November's crucial congressional elections.
Obama said the court's decision is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.
"This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates," he said.