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The absurdity of the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C is becoming increasingly obvious.

For anyone who doesnt know by now, this decision paired with the Speechnow.org V. F.E.C decision led to the creation of super PACs which allow political action committees to accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. In short, super PACs have given private interest groups and wealthy individuals an easy way to donate unlimited funds to organizations that spend money on influencing campaigns, most often through televised advertisements. Super PACs dont have to disclose where their donations are coming from if they choose not to. Before these court decisions in 2010 there were limits on what type of donations individuals and corporations could make to candidates, their parties, and political action committees. Earlier this year it was reported by NPR that 80% of all the money raised by super PACs so far has gone to pro republican groups. Also, only 196 individuals have contributed 80% of all the money raised by super PACs in 2011. A lot of these donors are millionaires and billionaires who have worked in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, and the same people who played a part in the 2008 economic crash. As an even smaller proportion of Americans funds elections, our politicians will be increasingly eager to please them, and listen to their ideas. Furthermore, a lot of this money gets spent on television and radio ad campaigning which Politifact.com and Factcheck.com report are misleading and present false facts. The decision in Citizens United was won by a margin of 5-4. Essentially 5 Supreme Court judges decided to interpret the constitution in a manner that gives the richest of the rich people in our country an easy way to manipulate our elections.

To take one example that has gotten a lot of media coverage, look at the billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a casino and hotel mogul, who is estimated to be worth $24.9 billion. Adelson supported Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary this year and donated over $10 million to pro-Gingirch super PACs. In one instance he made a donation of $5 million to a Gingrich super PAC and the next day the PAC made a $3.4 million purchase for television advertising in South Carolina that depicted Gingrichs rival, Mitt Romeny, and the eventual Republican nominee, as a predatory corporate raider. Why might Adelson have been so keen on Gingrich? Well for one, Gingrich favors a 0% capital gains tax, which would save Adelson $529 million a year. Also both Gingrich and Adelson have strong opinions about Israel, and have both made claims that the Palestinians are an invented people. Should Adelson have the ability to influence our elected officials, our tax rates, and our foreign policy concerning Israel and the Middle East? Obviously the answer is no, but the ability to donate unlimited money to super PACs gives him a perfect way to do so. Even with all of Adelsons contributions, Gingrich never really had a chance at securing the republican nomination for president. As we all know, Romney is now the republican nominee. Still, Adelson favors Romney over President Obama, so recently he made a $10 million dollar contribution to a pro Romney super PAC, and said he is willing to do whatever it takes to help defeat Obama. Just to help you comprehend how much $24.9 billion dollars really is, a $10 million dollar donation from Adelson is equivalent to $40 donation for someone with a net worth of $100,000. The manner in which Citizens United has changed campaign finance, and influenced our election outcomes is a huge problem for all of us, no matter what ones

political views may be. It violates the core principles of how a democracy should function. Our system is never going to be perfect, money will always talk, but Citizens United has made it talk exponentially louder. To achieve real campaign finance reform, and to minimize the influence of money in politics, we need to raise awareness about this problem, and we need to vote intelligently at all levels of government. Many people in our country are unable, or unwilling to carefully follow politics, and to weed out biased media sources in order to make educated decisions. These are the people that are most vulnerable to super PAC funded advertising. By writing about this issue, I hope to not only raise awareness about a major problem in our nation, but also because those of us who see what is going on have a responsibility to inform those that dont know or dont care. This is the only way we are going to be able to reclaim a system that governs for the majority, and not the Sheldon Adelsons of our country.