The federal impact of Citizens United is well publicized, but it is also important to understand the effect this ruling has on local towns and cities throughout the nation.
Corporate Spending Can Have an Even Greater Impact Locally
The egregious levels of outside spending on the federal level are well documented. In the 2010 Congressional elections, spending by corporations and wealthy individuals totaled almost $300 million.
The super-rich are dominating the 2012 election cycle, with over one-third of all contributions to Super PACs coming from just ten individuals. In comparison to these mammoth sums of money, it only takes a modest amount of money to have a transformative impact on a local election.
If multi-million dollar Super-PACs can buy the victory of even presidential candidates,
then what’s stopping them from influencing local political elections?
Consider This: In the April 2012 elections for Oklahoma City Council the Super-PAC “Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum” spent $400,000 on four candidates. The annual salary for an Oklahoma City Council member is $12,000 annually. Three of these four candidates won their campaigns. The only candidate who was able to defeat one of these Super Pac candidates noted deep concerns he saw with the democratic implications of a Super-PAC spending large sums on campaign ads without disclosing its donors.
Or This: Durham County in North Carolina is also experiencing the effects of SuperPACs. The SuperPAC “Durham Partnership for Progress” – funded by a developing firm – spent thousands of dollars on a mailer supporting four council people who support a controversial development project the that the firm, Southern Durham Development, plans to build. The SuperPAC’s support helped elect two of those council people into office in elections held on May 8, 2012.
Click here to read more from this information sheet from Public Citizen.