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SuperPACs storm Iowa
In Iowa's presidential scramble, the biggest players were not the candidates, but an insidious, ever-growing force that voters couldn't even see: corporate cash.
Welcome to the Brave New Political World created out of thin air by the Supreme Court two years ago. In their now infamous Citizens United decision, the Court's five-man majority of laissez-faire ideologues decreed that corporations can funnel unlimited sums of money into non-descript, independent electioneering committees, dubbed "superPACs." These outfits are then free to bombard voters with non-stop attack ads to defeat candidates they don't like. In Iowa, an unprecedented $12.5 million went into the campaigns – two-thirds of that was spent by not by the candidates, but by these superPACs.
The Court theorized that superPACs would operate entirely independently from their favored candidates. What a fantasy! In fact, the candidates themselves have dispatched their top staffers and millionaire funders to create and run superPACs on their behalf, so "separation" is a legalistic fraud. Second, although they operate under such benign names as Romney's "Restore Our Future PAC" and Perry's "Make Us Great Again PAC," these conduits of corporate money have become the nuclear bombs of viciously-negative campaigning, sliming opponents with attacks. The Supremes also theorized that superPACs would report the names of their donors, but – surprise – most are refusing to do so.
So, by hurling the Citizens United monkeywrench into America's democratic machinery, the Court has put secret corporate money in charge of our elections, drastically increased negative campaigning, and dangerously hidden the identity of candidates and funders who are gaily conspiring to buy public office. Let's stop this thievery. To help repeal Citizens United, go to www.United4ThePeople.org.
"The Slush Funds Of Iowa," The New York Times, January 3, 2012
"'Citizens United' Unleashed a Monster: Why the Real Winner in the Iowa Caucuses Is the Big-Money Super PAC," www.alternet.org, January 4, 2012.