Letter: More Money, More Problems

Letter to the Editor

Houston, we have a problem. The 2010 Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision removed limitations on corporate spending in federal elections. It also eliminated the requirement placed on candidates to disclose their sources of funding to the public. Spending for the 2012 election cycle exceeded all estimates and expectations at $7 billion, according to FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub.

That kind of money can only be acquired from the wealthiest of donor, the special interests of big business and/or their lobbyists. Are elected officials beholden to big money interests? 

The trend to spend was illustrated locally where over $1.5 million was infused for the 50th Assembly Seat in 2012 and in 2013 where more than $7 million was spent in the race for L.A. Mayor.

At the local level in L.A. County, if a person accepts Voluntary Campaign Limits in Proposition B, which passed in 1996, then they can spend no more than $1,971,921; however, there is no limit if someone wants to self-fund their campaign. (To date, one Candidate has not agreed to the Voluntary Expense limits.)

Any time between now and the end of June, the Supreme Court will announce its decision in the McCutcheon vs. FEC case. This decision will determine whether the limit on political campaign contributions from individuals (now at $123,200 per election cycle, more than twice the annual median income in the country) will be increased to as much as $6 million.

If the Citizens United case is a precedent, then it is likely that the Court will rule in favor of McCutcheon, and our political finance system will be flooded by enormous amounts of special interest money coming from a very small number of exceedingly wealthy individuals.

If you believe democracy is not a spectator sport, then join the hundreds of thousands of Americans of all political persuasions who are fed up with an increasingly polluted campaign finance system and are actively organizing for change by learning about the issues. Good websites to start with are democracyisforpeople.org, moneyout-votersin.org and movetoamend.org.

The future is yours, or maybe it’s not. You decide.

Pamela Conley Ulich