Big money’s im­pact on pol­i­tics

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

As noted in the Oct. 15 news ar­ti­cle “Back­lash builds against dom­i­nance of wealthy donors,” nearly

8 in 10 Amer­i­cans think the rul­ing in Cit­i­zens United

v. Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion should be over­turned.

The ar­ti­cle could have men­tioned how we got stuck with this rul­ing. Back in the days when the McCain-Fein­gold Act re­stricted unions and cor­po­ra­tions from spend­ing in po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns, a con­ser­va­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion, Cit­i­zens United, pro­duced a doc­u­men­tary, “Hil­lary: The Movie,” that ap­par­ently was in­tended to dis­credit former sec­re­tary of state Hil­lary Clin­ton. It sued for its First Amend­ment right to air the info-com­mer­cial and won in a 5-to-4 Supreme Court de­ci­sion.

Per­haps it would have been just a cheap shot to note that all five jus­tices in that ma­jor­ity were ap­pointed by Repub­li­can pres­i­dents.

Wil­liam A. Hall, Front Royal, Va.

I am among the nearly 80 per­cent who think that the Supreme Court erred in its Cit­i­zens United de­ci­sion and that the gi­gan­tic sums be­ing poured into our end­less po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns as a re­sult are bad for democ­racy and gov­er­nance [“Back­lash builds against dom­i­nance of wealthy donors”]. But elim­i­nat­ing cor­po­rate do­na­tions, su­per PACs and the like would not nec­es­sar­ily be a panacea be­cause it could lead to a sit­u­a­tion in which the most suc­cess­ful cam­paigns are self-fi­nanced, giv­ing a huge ad­van­tage to the megarich.

Think­ing about a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign fea­tur­ing more Don­ald Trumps is dispir­it­ing.

Thomas Cal­houn, Bethesda

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