Citizens United revisited

October 2, 2011 | By | Reply More

At In These Times, Joel Bleifuss sums up the damage caused by The United States Supreme Court decision of Citizen’s United:

In a political system where profit-driven corporations control both the nation’s dominant political parties and the legislative agenda, it is unlikely that any policy initiatives that disadvantage corporate interests will thrive. Citizens United creates a rocky road indeed for universal healthcare, legislation to combat climate change, a clean energy policy, an economy geared toward butter rather than guns, a tax structure that provides funding for human needs, an agricultural policy that serves family farmers, ethics legislation to regulate lobbyists, prohibitions against environmental toxins and an economy that provides a living wage to all willing workers.

. . .

And by curtailing transparency, the decision “profoundly affected the nation’s political landscape,” the Center for Responsive Politics wrote in its analysis of the November 2010 general election. Citizens United allowed nonprofit 501(c)4 and 501(c)5 organizations “to spend unlimited amounts of money running … political advertisements while not revealing their donors.” Among the center’s other findings:

• “Corporate donations are likely higher than reported, as conservative nonprofit groups spent $121 million [in the 2010 general election] without disclosing where the money came from.”

• Since the 2006 midterm elections, the percentage of spending from undisclosed donors has risen from 1 to 47 percent.

• In 2010, 72 percent of political ad dollars from outside groups would have been prohibited in 2006.

This article examines several approaches being floated for combatting the destructive effects of Citizens United, including ways of amending the United States Constitution.


Category: Campaign Finance Reform, Court Decisions, Law, Social justice

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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