On Super Money

There is a difference between right vs. wrong and agree vs. disagree. Anyone can be wrong, but a disagreement does not mean the person is wrong. Yes, this post is about a disagreement I have with the courts.

In the US, there are Political Action Committees (PACs). The primary differences between the two types of PACs rest in the amount of giving and the disclosure of the donor. While the right/wrong nature of Super PACs lies with both court rulings and one’s conscience, agree or disagree again may lie within one’s conscience, but most likely rests within one’s political philosophy.

Two articles caught my attention. The first is by respected conservation columnist George Will. Although I do not always agree with him, I respect his writing and use of history. The second by David Keating and Ed Crane, who boastfully claim to be the parents of Super PACs.

Both articles compare election spending to purchases by American consumers of mundane items as potato chips and Easter candy. Although this seems innocent on first glance, there is a fundamental flaw in their analogy. For instance, the following is Mr. Will’s closing:

We hear, yet again, the reformers’ cry: “There is too much money in politics.” This year, the presidential campaigns combined may spend almost $2 billion, which is almost as much as Americans will spend on Easter candy.

Yes, this Easter, many Americans will purchase candy to share with a selected few – most likely family members. The selective action by many for the enjoyment of a few significantly affects the candy industry. On the other hand, Super PACs use the large contribution(s) from a few to influence the lives of many by imposing their political will.

Mr. Keating and Mr. Crane are directly associated with the Center for Competitive Politics and the Cato Institute. Many times, using a word as center, institute, council, foundation, and others is a tipoff for a Washington special-interest organization – thus reader/listener beware. Moreover, yes, their organizations fit my description.

Mr. Keating and Mr. Crane state,

“Money is the proxy for information in campaigns … that means information was available (in South Carolina) and more interest in the campaigns has been generated.”

When watching Super PAC ads, it is overly clear that their message is about promoting an ideology – not to inform citizens. These organizations will distort information, use quotes out of context, and probably even lie to misinform the public to guide citizens to the PACs preferred political position.

Yes, I disagree with the ruling that gave us Super PACS, but the ruling was not wrong. I would change it if I could, but I don’t know to what. So, I close with my variation of Keating’s and Crane’s closing: It’s simply too bad that organizations behind the Super PACs don’t put their trust in the people’s “faith in freedoms and in the wisdom of the voters.”

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