Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Let's draw the correct lesson from Citizens United

By Richard K. Barry

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson said he would spend as much as $100 million to defeat Barack Obama and help the Republicans take control of Congress. Well, apparently, according to Huffington Post, Adelson low-balled himself. According to a couple of fundraisers familiar with Adelson's "philanthropy," he spent closer to $150 million.

Okay, President Obama won, while Democrats added to their seat count in the Senate and lost the House perhaps due more to redistricting than anything else. 

So, what's the lesson?

Adelson's public spending spree, larger than any other donor's in the last election, was made possible by two high court rulings in early 2010 that allowed corporations, unions and individuals to write unlimited checks to outside groups for political ads and other activities backing candidate.

Can we admit, no matter how the last election went, that this is not a good thing? Can we never be so foolish as to take the position that money can't buy elections?

It can and it does, just not every time.

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