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.

Consider:

• 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.
 

Campaign Updates

News Release | OSPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Post Election Update---Distorted Democracy: Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections

A new analysis of data through Election Day from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources by OSPIRG Education Fund and Demos shows how big outside spenders drowned out small contributions in 2012: just 61 large donors to Super PACs giving on average $4.7 million each matched the $285.1 million in grassroots contributions from more than 1,425,500 small donors to presidential candidates.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Democracy

Million Dollar Megaphones

Outside spending by organizations that aggregate unlimited contributions from wealthy individuals and institutions is playing a significant role in the 2012 election cycle, and much of it is not disclosed.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Democracy

New Report Details Latest Numbers on Outside Spending, Secret Money and Super PAC Fundraising for 2012 Elections

WASHINGTON – The Top 5 “dark money” spenders on presidential election ads have reported less than 1% of their spending to the FEC, which is all that is required by the agency’s insufficient standards, according to a new report analyzing the latest campaign filings.

> Keep Reading
Report | Democracy

Million-Dollar Megaphones

Latest Numbers on Outside Spending, Secret Money and Super PAC Fundraising for 2012 

> Keep Reading

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