Taming the super PACs

We've got to know where the big money comes from
February 29, 2012 12:01 am

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Rick Santorum has been warning since 2008 that Satan has his sights on the United States of America. I checked; he doesn't.

What Satan is focused on, the last time I asked, are those people with millions of dollars lying around to contribute to super political action committees.

Super PACs were introduced to American political campaigns by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of 2010. It basically said there must be no limits on what individuals, corporations, unions or other organizations can give to a super PAC. The only requirement is that there be a curtain of separation between the super PAC and any candidate it supports.

In practice, the curtain appears to be about as operative as the one that separated actress Janet Leigh from the Bates Motel slasher in the 1960 movie "Psycho." The Supreme Court essentially gave corporations and other bodies the same right of free expression as individuals. I will believe that when Texas executes one of these organizations.

In the meantime, very rich individuals -- the top half-percent -- are pouring astonishing amounts of money into the campaigns of the candidates in quest of the Republican nomination. There is also every reason to believe that the campaign of President Barack Obama will be in quest of the same magnitude and number of donations from the Democratic side of the rich house of American privilege.

It is probably not a coincidence that some of these mega-donors hold political views that are not exactly mainstream. The logic goes that, if the person's views were close enough to the mainstream for his candidate to have a decent chance of winning the nomination in a fair fight, there would be no need to arm him with a breathtaking sum to keep him in the contest.

First Published 2012-02-28 23:23:52

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