As election season begins, spending on campaigns breaks records

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and the unofficial beginning of the high political campaign season. And while we’re all bound to spend a fair amount of time talking about the issues and candidates this election cycle, we want to begin with what is often called the mother’s milk of politics: money.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is planning to spend $75 million on this year’s campaigns, mainly on Republican candidates. The AFL-CIO, for its part, will spend more than $50 million supporting candidates who share labor’s agenda — mostly democrats. But the Chamber of Commerce has also spent close to $190 million lobbying Congress since the Obama administration began, according to that AP report, which calls the chamber “a virtual third party.”

There are new rules on campaign spending as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case earlier this year. It held that some restrictions on campaign spending by corporations and labor unions violated their First Amendment rights to free speech. Jon Meacham spoke with Monica Youn of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law about how the new rules are already affecting campaigns. She has litigated campaign finance and election law issues in state and federal courts across the country.

 
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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kathleen-Ruddy/1393933148 Kathleen Ruddy

    I hope to change the sorry state of our government whereby those with enough money can purchase the laws that serve their private interests. Next week I will release a phone app that will allow the user to directly email their lawmakers on Capitol Hill as well as the staff who run their offices, thus restoring true participatory democracy to this country at the touch of a phone. Proceeds from the sale of this app will be used to support research on the breast cancer virus and the polyvalent preventive breast cancer vaccine. See my website for details and announcement of release of this app, Lobby Me. Breasthealthandhealing.org

  • Jim W.

    Ms. Yuon is incredibly well informed and well-spoken. Please have her on again soon.

  • rdro

    I don’t care what kind of rules you make or how loud you scream about this, if the American Public is so easily swayed by ads on political candidates then we get what we deserve. I have already made up my mind as to who I plan to vote for based on research into each candidate’s voting records and personal actions taken on various issues. I don’t need any ads telling me who to vote for and why. I seldom listen to or watch any of them. The American voter has become lazy and glued to media and internet blabbering. Time to turn off the TV and computers and start actually thinking again.

  • http://cpmcea.org/?p=238 As election season begins, spending on campaigns breaks records | Coffee Party Austin

    [...] campaign finance and election law issues in state and federal courts across the country. In this video, she is interviewed by Need to Know‘s Jon [...]

  • Lidar37

    Definition of Corporation: An association of individuals, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence independent of the existences of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members.

    The real problem I see with corporate special interests is that now that they have the same rights as real live human beings to purchase unlimited political advertising, they will next demand the right to vote, giving the CEO’s a second vote. As stated in the definition above, a corporation is an association of individuals… having a continuous existence independent of the existence of its members… Should a dog, cat, or parrot be allowed to vote if it has enough money? No? Then why should a lifeless entity with limited legal status be afforded the same rights as a real live human being?

    From what we’ve seen in the past, many corporations have not anything resembling the intelligence, morality or humanity that should be required to elect someone to such important decision-making, life-changing political offices. Where is the corporation’s soul, its heart, its life’s blood which we as human beings have? Why should a lifeless entity be allowed to influence public opinion strictly for the corporation’s benefit outside of the product it sells? Advertising for its products, yes. That is it’s function. Spending stockholder’s money for what should be a right reserved for human beings? Absolutely not! If there is no end to corporate rights, which by its very nature and definition is designed to be practically immortal, what chance do we mere mortals, who’s votes are supposed to elect our representatives, have in self-governance? Put another way by my brother-in-law, money talks, b.s. walks. As my wife says, this is becoming a government of, by and for the corporation. What’s good for the corporation, is not necessarily what’s good for us!

  • Jv E Hodgson

    Candidates for political office should be selected by human beings only who can speak and sign thier name. Additionally if they can get the signatures needed, then after that they can campaign based on thier beliefs.
    If in that process you allow say the NRA or a Pro life or Pro choice group to specifically be allowed
    a) To canvass for signatures for thier ideal candidate.
    b) Even to search amongst thier members only for a candidate.
    This is to narrow a perspective and is giving a voting power to them and financial resource that probably over 60 % of individual Americans do not have as they are not members of such organisations.
    c) Most certainly, the end result is “committees” (be they local or national of said bodies) will “protect a specific interest or interests” of the organisation.
    I see absolutely no connection between voting; and advertising or financing candidates by Groups, corporates, activist groups, or whatever ( including lobbyist organisations) having additional rights in the individual arena other than thru the votes of its members.
    It means they can spend as much as they like to influence thier own members to support a, b, c locally based on House Representative areas up for election or Senate areas. The national organisaion may support specific policies of any duly primary elected candidate relevant to thier organisations objectives Guns, for abortion, anti abortion etc.
    The Citizens United disgusting/ disgraceful decision simply provides rich sickly milk and stronger voting Influence to money thru committees and boards of directors… who only spend the money to protect thier specific interests (not of for and by all the people) and not necessarily having ” representatives” of, for and by the people, where the issues are much wider, than wanting to carry a gun or not, to have the Individual freedom to have or not have an abortion.
    etc etc.
    Frankly, any candidate supported anywhere in the US or paid for Advertising by any specific interest NRA/Corporate or whatever does not and will not get my vote…. I need a lot more from my candidate than being In favour, or not in favour of Guns, abortion, gay marriage whether he/she is Catholic, protestant or muslim ( all frankly irrelevant). I want my personal criteria to count in terms of who I vote for , not the gun lobby, gays ,evangelists like Beck or some corporate monolith, who thinks they know better because they pay a lot of tax and are entitled to more Power…that in a word is BS!!
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donald.e.bly Donald Bly

    Only registered voters should be able to donate to a political campaign and only in the district in which they are registered.

  • Subhendu Das

    I think the simplest way to solve the election problem is to introduce the secret ballot system at the Washington DC. If our senators and congress men are allowed to cast secret ballot in Washington, then you will not find lobbyists any more. Corporations will also not give money to a candidate during elections. We would not have even gone to Iraq war. If our representatives cannot cast secret ballot then the public do not have the secret ballot also. If there is no secret ballot then there is no democracy. The root cause of all our problems is at the Washington public vote system, instead of secret vote.

  • Steven AM

    its really too bad these rich corporations don’t take this money for campaign ads etc and put it towards starting NEW JOBS!!! all these millions would make a huge difference! and start the ball rolling in making more new jobs!! I dont understand.. if they indeed do have all this extra money.. are they just holding out on the American people just to make Obama look bad .. sure makes you wonder!! and for Gods sake END outsourcing!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Talbott/100000725625648 Eric Talbott

    Excellent information.

  • mc

    Many Politicians think of the voters only at the time of election. This has become a routine thing and happens everywhere. Once elected, we don’t see them approaching any of the voters in resolving their issues. What happened in City of Bell is a good indication that every city including City of Los Angeles should be inspected and their accounts be audited. And the City Officials who are not complying with the regulatory measures should be taken to task and any official in violation should be held accountable and replaced right away. Many American Taxpayers are struggling, especially in today’s tough economy, and any unscrupulous politicians should not get a free ride.

  • mc

    Many Politicians think of the voters only at the time of election. This has become a routine thing and happens everywhere. Once elected, we don’t see them approaching any of the voters in resolving their issues. What happened in City of Bell is a good indication that every city including City of Los Angeles should be inspected and their accounts be audited. And the City Officials who are not complying with the regulatory measures should be taken to task and any official in violation should be held accountable and replaced right away. Many American Taxpayers are struggling, especially in today’s tough economy, and any unscrupulous politicians should not get a free ride.

  • mc

    Many Politicians think of the voters only at the time of election. This has become a routine thing and happens everywhere. Once elected, we don’t see them approaching any of the voters in resolving their issues. What happened in City of Bell is a good indication that every city including City of Los Angeles should be inspected and their accounts be audited. And the City Officials who are not complying with the regulatory measures should be taken to task and any official in violation should be held accountable and replaced right away. Many American Taxpayers are struggling, especially in today’s tough economy, and any unscrupulous politicians should not get a free ride.

  • Martin

    That is sooooo naive. Corporations will only stop funding politicians by means of law and force. Why would they stop fighting for power?
    The corporation would tell 60 senators what to vote. If they do not get the 60 votes then all the 60 marionetes are done politically.
    Democracy is when we make the decisions not elected corrupt individuals.

  • Bob

    we MUST overturn this Ill Advised, Ludicrous Ruling!!
    the Supreme Court, in January 2010, has SOLD Our Democracy to the highest bidder, by bestowing upon Corporations, INDIVIDUAL Rights which the Framers of Our Democracy NEVER Intended for Companies Nor Churches…enough of the Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas idiology!!