“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign companies — to spend without limit in our elections,” “Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.” – President Obama 2011 State of the Union Address
In 2010, the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. By saying that corporations and unions are essentially people the United States Supreme court issued in a new era of election spending that threatens the very democracy they have sworn to protect. Currently, an individual citizen can only contribute $2,500 to a political campaign, but SuperPACS, created out of the Citizens United decision are allowed to raise unlimited funds from donors who can remain anonymous.
During this year’s Republican Primary, potential nominees such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum received their primary funding from one individual. Gingrich received over 10 million dollars from Casino magnate Sheldon Anderson and Santorum’s campaign was dependent upon Foster Friess, a millionaire mutual fund entrepreneur. If our lawmakers are receiving millions of dollars from one donor then what in return is being promised to those donors. These men with their millions of dollars have the potential to influence lawmakers more than voters, and when money have more influence than the people then that is how democracy dies.
Earlier this year at a private three-day retreat in California, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections.
An oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next.
The Citizens United decision is slowly shifting the power away from the people and towards a small collection of wealthy individuals. These individuals are financing political ads that are misleading and misinforming the public at-large. There are critical issues facing Americans this election year: long-term debt, taxes, defense spending, etc. but SuperPACS are more focused on issues such as Jeremiah wright and doing whatever it takes to preserve their way of living.
Government should be of, for, and by the people and contrary to what Mitt Romney believes, corporations are not people, my friend!