BY BOB MARX – Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” decision granted corporations the same First Amendment rights as people. As a result, corporations can now spend freely on any election. This jeopardizes the voter’s genuine choice and gives corporations an unfair advantage in any given election. When a corporation engages in political speech, it is not usually as a collaborative member of the discussion but more ideological and concerned with its interests, and not those of the people.
Citizens United puts candidates with corporate financial backing ahead in the money race, not based on skill or public consensus, but solely due to the enormous resources of corporate funding. This Supreme Court decision produces a severely exclusive and distorted political arena in a process that is supposed to grant equal opportunity. We must get corporate money out of the political process. We cannot hope to create a fair and balanced publicly funded election procedure if we continue to let money and corporate interests decide for us. Democracy should not be for sale.
Campaign financing is in dire need of regulation. Corporations should not be able to spend unlimited amounts of money from undisclosed donors in order to ensure a candidate who will side with their interests is elected. It defeats the purpose of an election altogether. I believe that corporations are not people and that speech is not money. Individual voters should be deciding our nation’s future, not Wall Street interests or super PAC’s.
I support a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens’ United. We must eliminate the influence that money has on our election system, and bring the election process back to the people.
Bob Marx is a Democratic candidate for Congress in Hawaii’s second district.