Letters to the Editor

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PACS: Look what Supreme Court hath wrought

Letter by Justin Earick, Tacoma on Feb. 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm | 25 Comments »
February 21, 2012 5:19 pm

Re: “Myths only serve to add confusion over super PACs” (Robert J. Samuelson column, 2-21).

I find it very interesting that in a column about super PACs, Samuelson fails to mention the U.S. Supreme Court decision that brought them about. In 2010’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, the court determined that corporations are essentially people, and the super PAC was “born.” This followed the Buckley v. Valeo ruling that defined money as speech, and thus could not be limited.

These two court decisions combined to break the back of the campaign finance reform laws that were achieved amidst the public outrage surrounding Watergate.

The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibited donations from foreign nationals, banks, government contractors, corporations and unions. It also required that candidates disclose the sources of contributions, and their total campaign expenditure to the Federal Election Commission.

Big-money interests immediately began tearing down these achievements, showing no sign of mercy. And for good reason: The results are remarkable; 94 percent of elections are won by the most grotesquely inflated campaign armament. In 2011, 196 people contributed 80 percent of all super PAC moneys.

Today, we see three billionaires virtually vying for a spot atop the presidential ticket through millionaire surrogates: Sheldon Adelson via Newt Gingrich, Foster Friess via Rick Santorum and Frank VanderSloot via Mitt Romney.

Our predicament was wrought by persistent attacks that have bludgeoned reform laws into submission, and a toxic atmosphere, which administers constant pressure to raise the money necessary to buy re-election.

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