With President Barack Obama recently announcing that he will create a super PAC to help him get reelected and Republican super PACs already raking up the dough and spending it on advertisements, eleven members of the Senate sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enact disclosure rules so the public will be informed on who is giving to these organizations. But the real question is: Why aren’t members of Congress enacting legislation to ban super PACs all together?
Super PACs were created after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows corporations to spend as much money as they want on political campaigns. But in fear of scaring away potential customers and a possible public relations flap, corporations have started to donate through different non-profit entities, who then give to the super PAC, which allows the corporation to remain anonymous. The senators who signed the letter asked the FEC to require the non-profits to disclose which corporations donated to them.
A recent report by the Associated Press notes that super PAC’s are already raising more money than the actual presidential candidates who have restrictions on how much individuals can give.
There is no doubt about the impact these PACs will have in the coming election, but these entities also bring up a bigger problem in how money is affecting American politics. They are spending millions of dollars that will influence voters in November and with 25 percent of all super PAC money coming from just five rich donors, it becomes a select few who have an enormous impact on the results.
These entities do nothing to make sure candidates talk about the issues that affect people’s well being, and instead forces the media to ask the candidates questions based on whatever is being brought up by the super PACs commercials.
While we do know very few of the donors who have given to super PACs and which industries they work for, we still do not know the vast majority of where the money is coming from and how it will impact the candidates when they get elected into office. Since wealthy people will always be able to give more money than those who are not, the disclosure issue is not the main concern. The real problem is how the process is being run.
If the goal of every politician is to get reelected, why would they even allow the game they play to be dictated by these rules? It is as if they are setting themselves up for what they know is to be a volatile campaign which makes no sense for them to want to fight. If politicians are proud of what they have accomplished in office, let them run on that. If nothing was accomplished, they should have to explain that to their constituents, not the hyperbole that the super PACs bring up to distract voters from the real issues.
Super PACs need to be banned from politics because the money they spend is bad for America’s democracy. In these times where millions of Americans are worried about finding a job, being able to pay the bills, and whether they will ever be able to retire, the last thing any of them need is to hear a debate that is supposed to be about their future construed by lies.
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