“Big Money” Impacts Elections

“Big money’s” political influence received a boost in 2010 when the US Supreme Court declared “money is speech” and corporations, unions, and other such groups have “personhood,” that is…the same status as citizens like you and me.  The case is called “Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission,” or “Citizens United,” for short.

Then in 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled certain laws, restricting the amount of money a person could donate to a political campaign, were unreasonable. (McCutchen v. Federal Election Commission).

These two rulings opened the flood gates to unrestricted “big money” in politics.  Sources of the billions of dollars donated in elections became hidden from public view.

If money is free speech, then speech is not free!”

Candidates for public office now spend hours seeking donations from wealthy individuals, corporations, unions and other special interest groups. Most of us don’t think that is right, but don’t know what to do about it.  Here’s one answer…

In a 2014 referendum, 77% of Wausau voters said they wanted “big money” out of politics and supported amending our US Constitution to overturn “Citizens United”.  Today, a total of 95 Wisconsin communities have overwhelmingly passed these resolutions, including 18 passed this November.

So far, 46% of Wisconsin’s Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters have spoken and said, “Get big money out!”  We want our laws and representatives working for our communities and citizens, not for some special interest!

We don’t have anything against the rich, we just don’t want them buying up our politicians. And we aren’t talking about the guy down the street with the big house and big car.  We’re talking about those that have $100 million and more.  It’s not the 1%…it’s the top 0.1%!  This is the group often using their wealth to pressure politicians to create special tax privileges for the wealthy and their corporations while eliminating regulations that protect the general public.

Everyone knows too much money influences our elections.  Politicians are selling their souls for big dollar contributions and today, big corporations seem to do whatever they want.  It’s a mess and everyone knows it.  Income inequality is getting worse.  Middle class dreams are disappearing.  Tax breaks and money flows to a handful of wealthy individuals at the expense of the rest of our citizens!  This is bad for a majority of Americans and bad for the future of our country!

Not everyone’s clear on how we got here, or how to fix it.  Corporate attorneys, Legislators and our Courts have been interpreting, and reinterpreting our Constitution, for over 130 years.  But now, artificial entities such as corporations, unions, super PACs have been given inalienable human rights, just like you and me…real people!  That’s new!

Amending our U.S. Constitution is the best way we can keep “big money” from controlling our government.  Help “Wisconsin United to Amend” push our state legislature into making Wisconsin the 19th state asking for an amendment overturning the effect of “Citizens United!”  Then we can continue the fight into the other 31 states.

—Milt and Rita Pachal, Wausau