America’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United ranges from public outrage visible in the Occupy Wall Street movement to barely concealed glee among wealthy donors who seek to influence the outcome of elections with an avalanche of dollars.
Recent data compiled by the NYT from Federal Elections Commission (FEC) records reveal the following: A supermajority of the millions is spent on wealthy or conservative candidates with financial ties to the financial and energy industries. Much of the money provided by individual donors is helping individual candidates win primaries that should be decided by intelligence, experience, believability, and integrity (virtues which few if any of the Republicans possess all together).
1. Restore Our Future—Mitt Romney’s PAC—$36.8 million total with 10 individuals contributing more than $1 million each. Most of this money has been spent on ads attacking Newt Gingrich.
2. American Crossroads — No known candidate ties. Spent $20 million on ads attacking President Obama before the general election has started.
3. Winning Our Future—Newt Gingrich’s PAC—$13.1 million with 2 individuals contributing $5 million each and 1 individual contributing $1 million by a PAC the candidate funded.
4. Make Us Great Again—Rick Perry’s PAC—$5.5 million spent on a candidate who is literally more stupid than that other governor turned president, George W. Bush.
5. Priorities USA Action—President Obama’s PAC—$4.5 million spent on a sitting President who has been in office three years trying to fix the problems caused by a decade of deregulation. Super PAC support of the President during the general election will likely increase significantly.
More to follow from a political system that permits private individuals to finance candidates without much public oversight. If money is free speech, then some people have more speech than others! So much the worse for the democratic principle “one person, one vote.”