Political action committees, which can now receive unlimited financial donations from individuals and corporations in support of their preferred political candidate, are set to explode previous spending marks in this season’s presidential campaign. But jurist Richard Posner doubts the veracity of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, saying that the risks of corruption, one of main reasons campaign spending was previously limited, is no different with super PACs and that politicians will still be tempted to return favors to those who spent big to put them in office.
What’s the Big Idea?
Posner regrets the low bar of most radio and TV ads paid for with super PAC donations. Rather than being informative, he says, they spew invective, holding the American voter in very low esteem. And given there is virtually no distinction between super PAC funding and direct campaign funding, the risk of corruption is amplified when larger quantities of money are spent. Posner says that the proliferation of free media, where candidates can reach a vast audience through blogs and social media, changes the equation. We no longer need to allow newcomers to outspend incumbents to make a name.