Two years ago, the phrase “citizens united” conjured empowering images. For those unfamiliar with the Supreme Court Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that stripped away what little was protecting the American people from having democracy co-opted underneath their feet, the phrase probably still does. The truth is that the ruling could more accurately be conveyed by the phrase, “special interests united.”
Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel turned to Craig Holman of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch for insights on his piece published today entitled, “Citizens United not enough for right.” In the article Vogel writes,
Not satisfied by the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to corporate-sponsored election ads, conservative opponents of campaign finance regulations have opened up a series of new legal fronts in their effort to eliminate the remaining laws restricting the flow of money into politics.
As it is, ex-post Citizens United voters must already be subjected to the power of the highest bidder. During the 2010 mid-terms so-called “super PACs” blasted the airways with unregulated and often grossly misleading issue ads. Now, in addition to thanking the Supreme Court, you can thank the Internal Revenue Service for the torture of “the never ending campaign.” Also in today’s Politico, reporter Jeanne Cummings writes of one such super PAC, Crossroads GPS, that has already spent millions:
Crossroads’ tax status — as a “social action” network, effectively a charity — allows the group to keep its donors secret, as it does for the other groups as well. But it also requires them to prove to the IRS that they deserve that special, non-political status, and the perks that go along with it. They do so by balancing out the millions spent on campaign ads with millions more spent on issue ads, which sound almost exactly like the campaign ads.
Don’t feel up for this horrible ride? Ready to reclaim that our democracy is a “democracy for the people”? Please visit www.democracyisforpeople.org and help Public Citizen put an end to this nonsense. And we CAN put an end to it. Just take look at this week’s amazing Washington, D.C. Flickr album if you don’t believe the will is there to set our country back on track.