Los Angeles, we have a problem.
The 2010 Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision removed limitations on corporate spending in federal elections. It also eliminated the requirement placed on candidates to disclose their sources of funding to the public. Spending for the 2012 election cycle exceeded all estimates and expectations at $7 billion, according to FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub.
That kind of money can only be acquired from the wealthiest of donors, the special interests of big business and/or their lobbyists. Are elected officials beholden to big money interests as a result?
The “trend to spend” has spiraled out of control.
In July 2012, I got an e-mail from the Obama campaign with “good news and bad news.” The “Good news” was that June was the best fundraising month and more than 706,000 people stepped up and pitched in for a grand total of $71 million raised for the campaign and the Democratic Party. The “Bad news” was that Romney and the RNC pulled in a whopping $106 million in 1 month.
“We’re getting outraised — a first for a sitting president, if this continues. Not just by the super PACs and outside groups that are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into misleading ads, but by our opponent and the Republican Party, which just outraised us for the second month in a row. We can win a race in which the other side spends more than we do. But not this much more.”
Then my President asked me to contribute more money to stop the madness.
With all due respect, another shot of heroin won’t stop the pain. Isn’t it time for our political process to come clean and stop sucking money away from hard-working Americans?
How can we continue to reward those who would spend millions just to be elected while schools are closing, public safety officers are reduced and people are loosing homes to foreclosures.
Is anyone else getting sick of the amount of money being poured into local and national political campaigns? When will enough, be enough?
In May 2013, over $7 million was spent in the race for LA Mayor (and 70% of Angelinos didn’t even bother to vote).
At the local level in LA County, if a person accepts Voluntary Campaign Limits in Proposition B, which passed in 1996, then they can spend no more than $1,971,921; however, there is no limit now because one candidate did not agree to the Voluntary Expense limits.
On April 2, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the McCutcheon vs. FEC case which eliminated aggregate individual campaign funding limits.
Before today, an individual could donate $123,200 per election cycle (more than twice the annual median income in the country).
After today, one individual can write a single check for $5.9 million to any candidate, political party and political committee.
If the Citizens United case is a precedent, our political system will be flooded by enormous amounts of special interest money coming from a very small number of exceedingly wealthy individuals.
If you believe Democracy is not a Spectator Sport, then join the hundreds of thousands of Americans of all political persuasions who are fed up with an increasingly polluted campaign finance system and are actively organizing for change and do two things:
1) Learn about the issues. Good websites to start with are democracyisforpeople.org, moneyout-votersin.org and movetoamend.org.
2) Talk to your family and friends about this issue and help us stop the insanity.