Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Corporate Influence through the Super PAC

Both parties have begun using television ads aimed at highlighting the negative characteristics of the other candidate for the 2012 Presidential election.  Most recently, Democrats are trying to tie Mitt Romney to oil companies and the wealthy interests that back them.  In this 30 second ad the Democrats accuse Romney of being a “$200 million man” who has dirty, oil fingerprints surrounding his interests. 

My main interest in this ad was that a super PAC (Priorities USA Action) has financed it.  Super PACs were one of the products of the decision in the Citizens United (2010) case that set new standards for campaign finance.  The concept of the super PAC is that it isn’t directly associated to a specific candidate.  Clearly there ways around this concept.  It will be interesting to see how ads and media play an increased role as the campaign progresses. 

The invention of the super PAC and campaign finance reform as a whole plays an important role in Congressional gridlock.  Currently corporations and corporate entities have the right to spend unlimited monetary contributions for a campaign which is usually utilized through super PACS like Priorities USA Action.  As candidates rely more heavily on corporate contribution they take a more definitive political stance based on these interests drifting further apart from compromise. 

I am interested to know how large a role super PACs are going to play as the election progresses and how much they will add to the current gridlock we face.  Will corporate contribution further fuel this partisan divide until November?   

1 comment:

  1. What I find interesting about this situation is that a PAC-funded advertisement is 'blowing the whistle' on Romney for being backed by corporate money. Upon doing a bit of research, here's what I found about Priorities USA Action [via]:

    -Its mission is to ensure the reelection of President Obama.
    -Its co-founders are Bill Burton (Obama's campaign press secretary and later White House deputy press secretary) & Sean Sweeney (former chief of staff to Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff for Obama).
    -The majority of its contributions come from labor unions and lawyers.

    While the referenced advertisement criticizes Romney for receiving oil industry support (for which he owes favors), Obama is in the exact same situation with prominent unions, like SEIU. I do consider the PAC's stated priority of supporting candidates who prioritize the well-being of the middle and lower classes to be noble; but I also recognize the double standard here. Does Obama, like Romney, not owe something to the organizations that contributed millions to support him?