Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Question: Money has too much influence in politics?

Today's question from American's Elect was asked by Shane M:
In the wake of the Citizens United decision by the United States Supreme Court, many people believe that money has too much influence in political campaigns. Do you agree? If so, how might we reform current election laws to change this?
For better or for worse money will always be a part of politics. On the downside the political power that positions bring will always bring people who want to influence those decisions. On the upside, in a republic like ours it can be a way to voice our opinion and help get someone who we think will represent us and our interests into office.

My understanding of the Citizens United decision specifically is that it essentially allowed corporations and other organizations such as unions the ability to use unlimited funds to do their own political activities including those that promote or propose to remove a candidate.

The problem is not that corporations can contribute in unlimited amounts, but that ordinary citizens are limited.

People who feel strongly about a cause will find a way to help it. If they can't contribute directly, they will do it indirectly. Currently we have very low limits onto what an individual can contribute. If we removed this limit people could give directly without going through back-door channels.  They could join together to pool their money to do their own promotion without fear of the FEC.

I believe we should remove most contribution limits from United States Citizens and create stronger enforcement of disclosure and tracking laws. If you really want to give to that person, should you not have the right to do that with your own money? Should we not have the right to spend it how we want to?

This is part of having freedom and liberty - the ability to do with your own finances as you see fit.  Limiting this is simply further limiting our individual liberty and our voice in how we are governed.  Remember, in the US we grant the government its power over us -- a government of the people, by the people.

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