David Price has a solid piece up at Huffington Post, decrying the fire sale of democracy triggered by Citizens United.
Social media may have been the hallmark of the 2008 campaign, but I fear 2012 will be the year of the SuperPAC. Instead of energizing the grassroots, SuperPACs get their fuel from anonymous wealthy donors. There are no limits on contributions or on the undue influence they can exert on elections.
Admittedly, we may not shed any tears as the SuperPACs proclaim Mitt Romney's delight at running companies into the ground and firing workers as a part of Bain Capital's corporate chop-shop, or Newt Gingrich's truly awful conservative heresy of sitting on a couch next to Minority Leader Pelosi to acknowledge the real danger posed by climate change. But we should care for two reasons. The first is that when this circular firing squad ends, the SuperPACs will start aiming at us. The second goes to the heart of our democracy: Unlimited SuperPAC spending violates the principle of one person, one vote. In other words, Citizens United has made restoring transparency and accountability to our electoral process a national emergency.
As you may know, Price was the instigator of Stand By Your Ad legislation, which was a step in the right direction in terms of transparency.
... as the author of the "Stand By Your Ad" disclosure requirement, which forces candidates to appear in their ads and claim responsibility for their content, I believe we must extend this requirement to entities newly empowered by the Supreme Court's disastrous ruling. I've introduced "Stand By Every Ad," which would require third party groups to both claim responsibility for their ads and reveal their top five donors in the ads themselves. If candidates have to appear in their ads and claim responsibility, CEOs should too. My campaign has started an online petition so that you can join me as a citizen co-sponsor of "Stand By Every Ad."
"Stand By Every Ad" isn't a cure-all, but it would place responsibility where it belongs. The best proof of its likely effectiveness is how virulently Senator McConnell opposed the bill after we passed it in the last Congress as a part of the DISCLOSE Act. Republicans know where their bread is buttered, and they slammed the door shut on disclosure.
Money is not speech, and corporations are not people. The true measure of our success is the well-being of each American, not the wealthy's stock market payouts or corporate profit margins. Let's do everything we can to make sure 2012 is the year of the voter, not the SuperPAC.
On this particular day, where the good people of South Carolina are racing to the bottom of the bullshit barrel, I don't have much hope that voters voices will be heard through the din of corporate money. And I would love to be proven wrong.
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