Newly disclosed details of the millions of dollars flowing into political groups are highlighting not just the scale of donations from corporation and unions but also the secrecy surrounding “super PACs” seeking to influence the presidential race.
The secrecy part is what should scare the Dickens out of us. It has already been uncovered that a big “bundler” for Romney is also a registered agent for foreign countries. A bundler is someone who collects checks from campaign donations for a campaign. In this case, the bundler is also a lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates and a former president of the Dominican Republic, and he also lobbies for Starwood Hotels and Diageo (they make Guiness and Jose Cuervo).
But this is the part we can find out about. The simple fact is that Citizens United put up a wall that keeps us from finding out about who donors are to these SuperPACs. The money can come from anywhere. Oh, sure, it’s illegal to receive funds from foreign entities. And yet, the US Chamber of Commerce does so by taking membership fees in a foreign country, but throws that money in with all the money they use for lobbying and campaign contributions.
The issue has even become a point of contention between the very candidates that have been the beneficiaries of the huge sums of cash being poured into their campaigns. As we have pointed out here previously, there has been a 1600% rise in campaign ad spending since the 2008 election season, and yet, the candidates have spent only 40% of what they spent then. Why? The SuperPACs are spending it for them. Meanwhile, corporations can spend whatever they want, without any fear that their customers will know.
So, ask yourself this: If a corporation is spending money on a candidate you don’t like or disagree with, shouldn’t you have the right to know so you can judge whether you want to continue giving that company your business? And should a corporation, or worse, a foreign entity like the UAE, have more say in how the country is run than you?