Media's Focus on Super PACs Is Warranted (Politico Arena)
Has the coverage of super PACs, and Adelson's donation specifically, been warranted? Absolutely! Citizens United and its progeny, SpeechNow, have created an Orwellian world in which money is speech and corporations are people. it defies common sense.
New avenues created by Citizens United allow billionaires like Adelson to spend unlimited money to influence candidates -and the elections themselves. This avenue for big money-influence is nothing less than a seismic shift in the democratic process.
Before 2010, gifts to PACs (groups that influence federal elections) had limits. If Sheldon Adelson wanted to give to organized political entities, there were caps in place to limit his personal influence. Individuals could make independent expenditures, but they had proved both cumbersome and had limited effectiveness for a number of reasons.
Since Citizens United, millionaires are giving big checks to super PACs like Restore Our Future or Priorities USA, which no one seriously disputes are organized surrogates for Mitt Romney and President Obama, respectively. Adelson’s private meeting with candidate Romney just before his donation makes this connection all the more clear. One individual has announced the intention to spend $100 million to determine who wields power in our nation.
The media has an obligation and a duty to cover any one and anything that seeks through large amounts of money to determine the future of our elections.
This opinion piece by Legal Center Policy Director Meredith McGehee originally appeared in Politico's Arena on June 14, 2012.