Court case lets corporations sway elections

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Friday, June 10, 2011
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is among commentaries written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School. The seminar is for students in the advanced placement U.S. government course taught by Joe Van Rooy.

After the 2010 Citizens’ United case allowing unlimited corporate contributions in political campaigns, the campaign financing system has gained even more loopholes.

Because the majority of corporations tend to support conservative candidates, this creates an unfair advantage for the Republican Party in elections. With the amount of resources that a corporation is able to provide, corporations can have a much greater influence in elections than citizens.

In addition, the rapid rise in campaign expenditures in the 2010 elections will prove to be but an experiment that verifies the effectiveness of larger corporate contributions and, accordingly, corporate contributions for the 2012 elections will be even greater. Therefore, although corporate spending likely will never again be limited, realistically, a public matching fund and public financing system will lessen the gap between Republican and Democrat campaign funding that corporate contributions can create.

It is more beneficial to use public funding because the candidates can spend their efforts addressing national issues instead of using time fundraising. Also, matching funds will drive candidates to not lean as heavily on campaign support from corporations.

Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution noted that, “If you influence a candidate with millions, it results in billions” for the company. Therefore, businesses are encouraged to make substantial contributions, knowing their investment will likely be profitable.”

Galston also stated that “effective political speech requires money,” but when union activity is eliminated, it removes many of the largest liberal supporters (unions) from contributing to campaigns. This only widens the gap between the parties’ campaign funding.

Campaign finance may never be perfect, but it is an essential part of the democratic process and, therefore, must be improved.

Last updated: 5:42 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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