By Robert Schlesinger |
Nearly two years ago, in Citizens United v. FEC, the United States Supreme Court restored the right to free political speech for individuals coming together through corporations (like Citizens United) and unions. In the wake of Citizens United, we have seen the rise of super PACs and their ability to speak to voters about candidates directly, without having their message controlled by a campaign or party.
This increase in political speech is helping the American political system, not harming it. As we've seen the Republican nomination process unfold, super PACs are bringing messages to voters in key states to help them assess the records and accomplishments of the candidates for president. The voting public deserves more information with which to make a decision as weighty as whom to elect as the next leader of the Free World.
But, like every other election year before it, members of the media are lamenting the amount of money being spent in this year's election because they have lost the power to control the message. President Barack Obama plans to raise and spend a billion dollars on his re-election campaign. No Republican candidate will come close to matching that number, so some independent super PACs have set out ambitious goals to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to help counter the Obama campaign juggernaut.
The truth is that nearly $2 billion are going to be spent, with or without super PACs. Super PACs are simply another way for Americans to participate in our political system. If certain politicians, members of the media, or the public at large are disturbed about the number of ads on TV or their content, they should change the channel or run an ad in response--not deny groups the freedom to air their messages and the public the opportunity to hear them. Such censorship would truly damage the American political process.
About David N. Bossie President of Citizens United
Robert Weissman President of Public Citizen
Jennifer Marsico Senior Research Associate at the American Enterprise Institute