The Hightower Report
Corporate cash and the 2012 elections
Super PACs Storm Iowa
In Iowa's presidential scramble, the biggest players were not the candidates, but an insidious, ever-growing force that voters couldn't even see: corporate cash.
Welcome to the brave new political world created out of thin air by the Supreme Court two years ago. In its now infamous Citizens United decision, the court's five-man majority of laissez-faire ideologues decreed that corporations can funnel unlimited sums of money into nondescript, independent electioneering committees, dubbed "super PACs." These outfits are then free to bombard voters with nonstop attack ads to defeat candidates they don't like. In Iowa, an unprecedented $12.5 million went into the campaigns – two-thirds of that was spent not by the candidates, but by these super PACs.
The court theorized that super PACs would operate entirely independently from their favored candidates. What a fantasy! In fact, the candidates themselves have dispatched their top staffers and millionaire funders to create and run super PACs on their behalf, so "separation" is a legalistic fraud. Second, although they operate under such benign names as Mitt Romney's "Restore Our Future PAC" and Rick Perry's "Make Us Great Again PAC," these conduits of corporate money have become the nuclear bombs of viciously negative campaigning, sliming opponents with attacks. The Supremes also theorized that super PACs would report the names of their donors, but – surprise – most are refusing to do so.
So, by hurling the Citizens United monkey wrench into America's democratic machinery, the court has put secret corporate money in charge of our elections, drastically increased negative campaigning, and dangerously hidden the identity of candidates and funders who are gaily conspiring to buy public office. Let's stop this thievery. To help repeal Citizens United, go to www.united4thepeople.org.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.
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