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Need to Know, November 16, 2012: Money Matters: Life after Citizens United

Ray Suarez

The election was more than a week ago, but the debate continues about the extraordinary amount of money spent during the campaign season, an estimated $6 billion.

Of course the huge increase in campaign spending follows the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, that 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy said restrictions on independent spending by corporations and unions to support candidates violated their constitutional guarantees of free speech. In his dissent Justice John Paul Stevens warned then that the ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.

So has it? Will it? And are there other electoral reforms we should consider? That’s our focus this week.

Panelists include Monica Youn, David Keating, Richard Brookhiser and Scott Murphy.

Read the full show transcript.

Campaign Finance :

Who’s who

Hear more from our panel of experts: Richard Brookhiser, David Keating, Scott Murphy and Monica Youn.

Best dollars and donors graphics

Anchor Ray Suarez speaks with a roundtable of experts on how big money and Citizen’s United may have impacted the 2012 election cycle.

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  • Will Magnus

    I believe there should be a limit on campaign financing. It would make the playing field fairer. How to do this? Give real tax breaks to any media outlets who give equal time to each candidate, using minutes, (lottery-type grab/pick for who gets the primetime slots), not amount of money one has available, ie: Who gets Primetime, demographic mega slots are made by chance not influence. Make any local channel/internet group receive enough tax breaks so that charging exorbitant amounts becomes irrelevant.

  • Anonymous

    Citizens United is Absurd & stems from an earlier, well documented, clerical error from a prior S.C. opinion. The premise in defense of Citizens United is inherently (and critically) flawed. Some panelists argued that individuals are welcome to ‘pool their money and engage in the political process’. The difficulty with this argument is that while the founding fathers may have asserted ‘all men are created equal’ they neglected to mention that not all inheritence is equal nor is the playing field along a path to wealth creation equal. It is not & there is ample evidence that clearly demonstrates this (Jeffrey Sachs research & the gigi Index come to mind). As such, some groups (or individuals) are disproportionately represented based on a foundation of inequity that clearly exists in our society.

    The ability of voters to ‘pool’ monies is irrelevant & a simple justification given the vast inequity in this country (one of the most unequal of the developed countries…in the world) – to deny inequality is intellectually dishonest and to acknowledge inequality one must inherently adopt the stance that speech is not equal nor equally free.

    Sadly, and make no mistake, it is economic inequality that strengths those with means at the expense of those without & when the media stands to generate more than 1,000,000,000.00 in advertising revenue for a Presidential race…that’s a powerful incentive to disincentivize those who argue against Citizens United irrespective of grounds for doing so.

  • René Glz De La Viña

    By allowing private money influences electoral campaigns is legalized corruption. It violates a universal principle “electoral fairness”

  • Anonymous

    Unions supporting candidates that are in bed with them, like Obama.
    Just this last week, Obama had all Liberal groups and unions in private meetings.
    He had big business but no small biz at those meetings, the big business was all like minded thinkers on the issues that agree with Obama. Do they agree or just want something from him and pretend to agree.
    Check for yourself and see who he had at these White House meeting’s since his re-election… AARP and Acorm look a likes in one meeting, what does that tell you.
    AARP supports Obama-care and gets to run Gov programs.
    This is the most corrupted president and aministion ever. Watergate was nothing compared the Libya.