US Campaign Finance Case Study

Improved Essays
The current U.S. campaign finance system is definitely a problem. The U.S. campaign financing system has never been one of the hallmarks of our democracy as influence has always been susceptible to monetary benevolence. But in 2010 it was dealt a lethal blow by the U.S. Supreme Court when they decided by a narrow majority to trample a century of precedent and declare that corporations, and by extension labor unions, have a first amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcome of elections.
There are few Supreme Court decisions that have received as much public debate, backlash and attention (except by most of the students in our class who had never heard of it -- scary). “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called it
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Page which sought to determine to what extent the collective body of U.S. citizens actually influences politics as compared to the financially elite (the one percent of the one percent) who dominate campaign funding. This study compared four groups against each other and determined that the elite contributors were more likely to influence the outcome of a political campaign then the collective will of the individual voters. The study pointed out that this did not necessarily mean that the will of the people was not served because some of the time, the will of the financially elite voters parallels the will of the collective voter of average means.(Gilens, Page) I still find this disturbing. I would like to believe that Joe public takes the right to vote seriously and will not be swayed by the massive infusion of money into coercive media that prejudices the will of the people but this study and others that were referenced would imply …show more content…
First, I think there needs to be full disclosure of all political contributions by U.S. corporations, and especially foreign corporations. The SEC (ineffective as they seem to be in stemming corporate greed) does have some influence over corporate disclosure. I worked for 24 years for a Fortune 500 company in the C suite and every year it seemed the SEC required more and more financial disclosure. For instance, all officers of a corporate entity are required to disclose their salaries, including stock options, and any purchases or sales of their company stock. The purchase or sale of the stock of a company one is a principal of is a sign to the stockholders of the company’s financial health. The officers of the company I worked for were encouraged to purchase the company’s stock to reassure the market that it was a solid investment. They were also, at the time I worked for this Fortune 500, required to disclose any political contributions over a certain spending limit – I can’t remember what the limit was. (They were also “encouraged” to contribute to a PAC that lobbied for the industries the corporation was engaged in.) If the SEC can require all of these disclosures, why can’t it require full disclosure of all political contributions? This should be required by the SEC because political contributions can impact stock prices if they are made to unpopular causes or politicians – the precise reason why the financially elite do not want to

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