This year is an election year and as most of us who follow politics know, the rhetoric becomes more and more harsh and divisive during election years. Out of desperation to either obtain or remain in political office, politicians and their supporters spend millions of dollars every election cycle. They spend this money on ads, appearances, and all kinds of other devices and methods that they are hoping will garner them more votes.
Money in the hands of politicians and their campaigns is a powerful thing. The powers that be have recognized this and they placed caps on how much an individual or corporation is allowed to donate directly to a single campaign. However in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled on a case commonly known as Citizens United. This ruling essentially says that corporations have the same first amendment ‘free speech’ rights as individual citizens and that their form of ‘speech’ is money. Therefore corporations are allowed to donate unlimited money to a campaign, as long as they are not giving it directly to a candidate.
Politicians wasted no time forming organizations called Super-PACs. These super-PACs (The PAC stands for political action committee) claim to have no direct contact with the candidates (this would be a violation of the law), however they are almost always run by someone with a close relationship to the candidate. These committees are able to receive unlimited funds from whoever is willing to give them money. This dangerous ruling allows one very wealthy individual or company to bankroll and entire campaign. This year’s election will be the first since this historic ruling and experts are already predicting that this will be the most expensive election ever. The biggest danger here is that rich individuals and powerful corporations who may have their own personal agendas will sponsor a candidate who will cater to their needs and not the needs of those of us who do not have millions to donate to their super-PACs. We may see a Senate or House of Representatives, or possibly even a President in the future who are there to represent their corporations and donors, not citizens.
A vision comes to mind of those race cars that have logos and advertisements plastered all over them. However, NASCAR seems to have more transparency than the United States government needs because they do not require super-PACs to disclose the names of their donors. When you cast your vote this November, which corporation will you be voting into office?
Written by: Kika Ramsay