In late January 2010, following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling—in which five justices came to the conclusion that “corporations and unions have the same First Amendment rights as individuals, which means that corporations and unions are free to spend unlimited amounts of money independently in elections”—I wrote a blog entitled “Whoever has the most money gets to choose our next president.”
I forgot to add that whoever has the most money may also choose our legislators, as has been confirmed by the latest election spending reports:
The $80 million spent so far by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfs the $16 million spent at this point for the 2006 midterms. In that election, the vast majority of money – more than 90 percent – was disclosed along with donors’ identities. This year, that figure has fallen to less than half of the total, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.
The trends amount to a spending frenzy conducted largely in the shadows.
The bulk of the money is being spent by conservatives, who have swamped their Democratic-aligned competition by 7 to 1 in recent weeks.
First of all, less transparency in how our government and elections work is most definitely not what is needed.
And second, this sounds less like government of the people, by the people, for the people, and more like a government of special interests, by special interests, for special interests.
We can only hope that people are smart and savvy enough to see through the sham of campaign finance and vote based on values and informed reason next month.