By Leslie Card, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG)
To the editor:
It has become clear that big money spending in elections is a problem. Since Citizens United, campaign spending has reached an all time high, and the top 32 Super PAC donors in the 2012 election gave as much as President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney raised from all of their small donors combined. That’s at least 3.7 million people giving less than $200 whose voices were overpowered by just 32 megadonors.
For too long, unaccountable special interests have had too much influence on our elections by virtue of the money they spend. Campaign finance reform is important, needed to restrict spending in election campaigns. As bad as the problem has been historically, the new rules post-Citizens United have only made things worse, with often-unknown spenders breaking records every election cycle. 2014 is expected to be no different.
The U.S. Supreme Court, unfortunately, seems bent not on fixing this problem, but on making it worse. While winning a constitutional amendment to reclaim our democracy for ordinary citizens won’t be easy, it’s a fight worth having. And with 16 states and over 500 communities across the country already on record calling for an amendment, the momentum for victory is building. The U.S. Senate should stand up for their constituents not special interests.