Why get money out of politics?
In 1976, in a decision known as Buckley v. Valeo, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the spending of money by individuals on direct advertising in support of political campaigns was a constitutionally protected form of free speech, essentially decreeing that money equals speech. In 2010, the Court expanded upon this even further in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, ruling that corporations, labor unions and trade associations, as well as individual citizens could all make unlimited contributions to the tax exempt political action committees now known as SuperPACs.
We believe that, on the issue of who gets elected to public office in our country, the Court has dangerously tilted the balance away from individual voters and toward a combination of extremely wealthy individuals and – more importantly – artificial legal entities never intended by our Founders to be the beneficiaries of the all the same rights that we, as persons, are entitled to.
2012 marks the first major national election carried out fully under the rules mandated by the Citizens decision. An examination of FEC filings reveals that 80% of Superpac money originates from fewer than 200 donors. At least two candidates for president receive almost all their money from one or two very wealthy contributors. It is not difficult to envision that future races could be decided by a very small group of moneyed interests who pick their horses and place their bets. That’s not a representative democracy, that’s an oligarchy.
Yes we’d all like to believe that Americans are smarter than that, that they study the candidates, weigh the issues and make informed decisions, but the facts say otherwise. The facts say essentially that “advertising works.” The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed congressional elections over the last six election cycles and found that 93% of House races and 83% of Senate races were won by the candidates who spent the most money.
An activist Supreme Court has enacted legislation from the bench that ensures that our elected representatives will be more beholden and responsive to those who finance their campaigns than to individual voters. It is up to us as individuals to overturn that outrageous decision or suffer the consequences. We believe that people have rights under our Constitution, but corporations are merely entitled to privileges granted by our government of the people.
Through this site you can:
View the Resolution: See the resolution that we are asking the San Juan County Council to adopt.
Sign the Petition: Download and sign a petition asking the Council to pass the resolution.
Read our blog: Opinion and humor related to the deleterious influence of money on politics.