Today, January 21, 2014, is the fourth anniversary of the Citizen’s United decision, which extended free speech rights of individuals to corporations, trade unions and non-profit associations. Many have feared that this would lead to a massive flood of corporate money washing away all democratic competition in our elections.
Politico reports that “America’s largest companies haven’t used the Citizens United v. FEC case to open up their checkbook. Instead, most still prefer the time-tested avenues of political influence-peddling: industry trade associations, politically active nonprofits and company PACs that are limited to giving just $5,000 per candidate.”
The report does note that since the ruling, wealthy individuals and their campaign consultants have spent lavishly, competing for influence with the K Street lobbies that have dominated political fund-raising. Referring to a report by Demos, Politico notes that Corporations accounted for just 12% of contributions to Super PACs.
It would seem that fears of a corporate takeover of our democracy might be overrated.