Fallout from Citizens United: We’re losing our way

One day after the Jan. 30, 2012 deadline for candidates, campaigns and committees to file their financial reports for 2011, the democracy-killing impact of Citizens United is clearer than ever: With every post-Citizens-United election cycle, our government is becoming increasingly bought and paid for by Wall Street, Big Oil and corporate lobbyists.

Here are a few statistics from Media Matters Action Network to back up that assertion:

  • In modern elections, nine out of 10 congressional races are won by the candidate who raises the most campaign cash.
  • In 2010, the first election cycle since the Citizens United decision:
    • Outside groups backed by corporations spent $300 million on political ads and campaigns—more than double the amount of outside spending in 2008, before the decision. Half of the $300 million came from undisclosed sources.
    • In 60 of the 75 congressional races in which power changed hands, unaccountable outside groups backed the winners, spending freely and overwhelmingly on negative ads.
    • Political campaign ad spending hit a record $2.3 billion, which is expected to be shattered in the 2012 election cycle.
    • Outside political spending has favored Republican politicians by two-and-a-half times over the past three years.
    • The Koch brothers, with an estimated $50 billion fortune, already bankroll the campaigns of many Republicans in Congress and have vowed to spend over $200 million in the 2012 election cycle.

The result of these funding atrocities? The folks who give the money—big corporations and billionaires—get paid back via massive taxpayer handouts; lawmakers on their campaign payrolls gut the regulations their corporate puppeteers abhor, and, in the process, take away the rights of workers, while sticking American families with the bill. No wonder so many Americans say they’ve lost faith in our political system.