Get Big Money Out of Politics
There is too much big money in politics—and it is ruining our democracy.
Thanks to four decades of misguided court decisions, the super-rich and corporations can spend nearly as much money as they want to promote or oppose political candidates.
As a result, those with the most money have more influence in our political system than ordinary people. It means the wealthy have more influence over who runs for office, who wins, and who makes decisions in America. And it means politicians are more beholden to the wealthy donors than ordinary people.
• Two individuals, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, have given a combined $36.3 million to Super PACs as of August 2012. It would take more than 321,000 average American families donating an equivalent share of their wealth to match the Adelsons’ giving.
• Just 1,000 people accounted for 94% of all SuperPAC contributions from individuals as of August 2012.
• Half of all political spending in the presidential race has been made by groups who do not need to disclose their donors—meaning Americans have no way of knowing who is bankrolling half of the entire presidential election.
All this big money not only drowns out the voices of regular people—it also causes the public to lose confidence in the political system. As that happens, participation drops and our democracy slowly erodes.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that money equals free speech—and that the American people are prohibited from restricting how much money politicians can raise and spend. We disagree. Money is not speech. Money is property and amplifies speech, but is not speech itself.
To protect our democracy, we have to get big money out of politics. A constitutional amendment that gives citizens back the power to limit the big money in politics is a key solution. There is a nationwide effort to build awareness about how a constitutional amendment could solve the problem.
On campus, we want to educate the campus broadly about the issue, and get students to join our petition of support for getting big money out of politics. For the sake of our democracy, please join us.
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