The Hidden Effects of Citizens United and Super PACs

By Mike Lux, Huffington Post

Big money has always been a huge factor in politics, of course, with the people who could write the checks and raise the cash exerting a great deal of power in the system. But in the two election cycles since the Citizens United ruling, the power dynamic has shifted dramatically in three different ways, all of which are terrible for the future of our democratic system.

The first is the fear factor. Since Citizens United, I have begun having conversations with members of Congress on a regular basis who are factoring into their voting decisions the awareness that if they piss off a big money special interest, they will have to contend with a huge amount of cash — hundreds of thousands, even millions — being dumped into their race…

The second factor that is new is that the sheer amount in some of these super PACs and 501(c)(4) non-profits is making the small number of people who give the big money to them far, far more powerful than they have ever been before. There is no rule against politicians and campaigns having conversations with the people giving these huge amounts of money to these big outside super PACs, and it is documented that people like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson have been in close touch with the Romney campaign. When they are writing the kinds of eight and even nine figure checks they are, I can guarantee that Romney is listening very closely to them, and not just on policy either. Longtime Republican insider Roger Stone has said, for example, that a source has told him that the Koch brothers told Romney they would give an extra $100 million to Republican super PACs and 501(c)(4)s if he would name Ryan to the ticket, and given how much money the Koch brothers would make off the Ryan budget, that is a completely believable story. The people giving these kinds of sums are having a massive influence on the politicians running for office.

The third factor is the Unaccountability factor…

Full article: Mike Lux: The Hidden Effects of Citizens United and Super PACs.

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