All politics - and political contributions - are local
Billionaire brothers moving influence from national to local elections
Distorted campaign contributions by a wealthy, politically active duo may be coming to a local election near you, courtesy of the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) super PAC funded by David and Charles Koch.
The billionaire barons are infamous for their political proclivities, often articulated through huge campaign contributions to right-wing and industry-friendly candidates. In 2012 alone, AFP spent over $120 million campaigning against President Obama and like-minded candidates.
Super PACs, political action committees, allow for unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and other groups to spend on political causes. Though super PACs cannot officially work with a candidate's campaign, they can - and do - spend on ads and other forms of tactics, some coercive, to influence elections and political decisions.
Super PACs are a recent legal creation following the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010. The case effectively allowed for unlimited campaign contributions, giving corporations First Amendment rights to free speech, often through spending for political causes.
The ruling has been controversial, with the floodgate of political funding it opened being the primary target. The influx of so much money for attack ads, fliers and robocalls at the national level is certainly an appalling distortion of the democratic process, but a more disturbing trend has started to emerge.
Spearheaded by AFP, huge contributions and vitriolic advertisements are beginning to force their way into much smaller, local elections where stakes are high for local constituencies and alteration far easier than at the national scale.
The Koch brothers and their super PAC were largely unsuccessful at the national level in 2012, despite the money they spent. But some of the smaller elections they are targeting now may be more susceptible to outside influence
AFP has been active in campaigns across small towns in Kansas, Ohio, Texas and other states. In Coralville, Iowa, AFP turned a typically cordial race into a venomous matchup with attack ads and fliers blanketing the town, according to The New York Times.
Though the candidate the brothers fiscally supported for city council lost, the debacle brought attention to the new targets for the Koch brother's cash, and the dangerous precedent it sets.
Money is already a distortive force in our democracy at the national level, and allowing such tactics to be employed at local levels strikes directly at the heart of our democratic process.
It is less that money is not speech and more the undue influence that money can have on unsuspecting voters. Limits to political spending are the only practical method to stymie the debasing influence money often has in elections.
Most recently, AFP has targeted politics in Iron County, Wisc., to encourage a mining venture in the area, environmental degradation and the good of the community be damned.
This saga has yet to play out, but the efforts by AFP will likely have some influence, if only to muddy otherwise affable political decisions.
The influence of money in elections is usually deplorable, but striking on this level makes the issue that much more influential, and reprehensible.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More ubspectrum News Articles
Recent ubspectrum News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR UBSPECTRUM
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST UBSPECTRUM NEWS
- James Gardner named interim dean of law school
- Skeete fuels second-half run as Bulls defeat Drexel
- A new shift
- A source of pride – and debt
- Reviving the Buffalo waterfront with Buffalo RiverWorks
- The Proles: A lesson in how to rock and roll
- Katy Perry will always be my “Teenage Dream” and she deserves to perform...
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Popping the Question Over the Holidays? What Every Guy...
- Helping Golfers Stay in the Swing With Chiropractic Care
- Conserve Energy This Winter by Choosing the Right Windows
- ACA Marketplace Complicates Tax Returns -- May Delay 2015...
- Gifts That Wow, and What They Say About You
- Millennial Travel Is on the Rise
- Taking Care on and off the Sports Field
- Are You a Candidate for Chiropractic Care?
- Worried About Ebola? What's Keeping You Safe at the...
- The Most Dangerous Time of the Year? Safety Tips for the...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- NEEBO COLLEGE TEXTBOOK SAVINGS TIP: SELL EARLY, BUY EARLY AND SAVE BIG
- Draper University's Tim Draper Hosts YouNoodle Live Featuring Student Entrepreneurs From Around The World
- NATIONAL SURVEY REVEALS CONFLICTED MINDSET OF COLLEGE STUDENTS ABOUT ADHD PRESCRIPTION STIMULANT MISUSE, ABUSE AND DIVERSION
- 7 Tips to Fuel for Finals
- LINE Webtoon Launches Challenge League, a New Discovery Feature for Webcomic Creators and Aspiring Artists