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The Supreme Court’s Billion-Dollar Mistake

The Supreme Court s Billion Dollar Mistake by David Cole NYRblog The New York Review of Books


Five years ago this week, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court decided to allow unlimited amounts of corporate spending in political campaigns. How important was that decision? At the time, some said criticism of the decision was overblown, and that fears that it would give outsize influence to powerful interests were unfounded. Now, the evidence is in, and the results are devastating.


According to the Brennan Center report, over the five years since these decisions, super PACs have spent more than one billion dollars on federal election campaigns. And because these organizations are free of any limits, they have proved to be magnets for those who have the resources to spend lavishly to further their interests. About 60 percent of that billion dollars has come from just 195 people. Those 195 individuals have only one vote each, but does anyone believe that their combined expenditure of over $600 million does not give them disproportionate influence on the politicians they have supported? The average contributions of those who give more than $200 to such super PACs are in the five- and six-figure range. The average donation over $200 to the ironically named Ending Spending, a conservative PAC, was $502,188. This is a game played by, and for, the wealthy.

Stashed in: Politics!, Influence!, Winner take all., Billions!, America!, Politics, Rich people get richer.

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This still shocks me that this passed, made me lose faith in the Supreme Court to do the right thing.

Even the Supreme Court gets it wrong sometimes.

This will get corrected in the future. Only question is how long it will take. 

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