How Politicians Buy Corporate Votes – SuperPACs and Citizens United

Sorry if you are just now hearing this, but your voice in politics and policy is relatively meaningless compared to money-backed corporations. You see, a series of SCOTUS decisions, most notably, Citizens United, eroded limits on campaign donations based on the assumptions that 1) corporations are essentially individuals with the right to free speech via political donations; and 2) independent election spending by organizations and individuals “does not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Umm… think again! As a result, Super PACs (political action committees), unlike candidates, can receive unlimited donations from corporations, unions, and individuals.

The outcome has led to a political landscape where those with the deepest pockets have been empowered to use their money to make them even deeper. Not that money didn’t influence politics before, but the rise of Super PACs and dark money channels has threatened the notion of democracy at the federal, state, and local levels. We may still have a one-person, one-vote system (rather, an electoral college system), but as long as corporations and special interest groups can contribute unlimited funds to influence the political process, the voices of “we the people” have, at best, been seriously diluted.

To see for yourself how Super PACs have impacted our democracy, check out OpenSecrets.org at The Center for Responsive Politics and see who gets how much from whom. If you want to learn a little more, visit the Brennan Center for Justice. And, to take action, go to Democracy for All and, at the very least, call your state representatives telling them you want big money out of the political process. It’s okay if they give you some line of b.s. defending their support for a system that just lines their pockets.

Make your voices heard, my friends.

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