Have you ever donated money to a political party or candidate? If so, how much was it?
Welcome to a political world dominated by Super PACs. So what is a super PAC? What purpose do they serve?
The website, opensecrets.org, offers an explanation.”Technically known as independent
expenditure-only committees, super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates,” the site states.
Super PACs are a very recent phenomenon. Two landmark cases directly led to their creation.
In 2010, the rulings from Citizens United v. FEC, and SpeechNow.org v. FEC, allowed individuals, corporations, or unions to donate an unlimited amount of money to independent expenditure only committees.
The ramifications of these court decisions could be immediately seen. In the 2012 elections, $828,224,700 was raised by super PACs. $305,014,588 has already been raised for 2016. This number is almost guaranteed to surpass the total from 2012.
Under federal law, an individual cannot donate more than $2,700 to a presidential candidate. Super Pacs directly undermine that law, as donors can donate unlimited amounts to these influential groups.
Money donated to super PACS goes to advertisements and other factors that help candidates get elected. This is all considered OK because super PACs are, “Prohibited from coordinating their strategies with candidates.”
Super PACs are undermining the very concept of democracy. They directly allow the wealthiest people of this country to influence elections.
That’s a bold strategy, considering income inequality in this country is at its highest point since 1928.
Who are the politicians more likely to listen to? The billionaire who donated millions of dollars to a super PAC that supports them? Or the person who cannot donate any money because he/she works 50 hours a week on a minimum wage?
It’s time to rethink super PACs. Is this what the Founding Fathers really had in mind when they helped forge our nation?
By: Jackson Rioux