The SCOTUS decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission could unleash nearly unlimited expenditures of corporate treasury funds in politics.
One view is that the full impact of the decision probably will not be limited to an unprecedented expansion of corporate political advocacy directed at policy and the election or defeat of candidates for political office. Another view, as articulated by Dr. Stephen R. Weissman, a former associate director for policy at the Campaign Finance Institute, is that the “decision is unlikely to change the political situation on the ground very much.” Los Angeles Times, Opinion (January 28, 2010). Link: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/28/opinion/la-oe-weissman28-2010jan28
In any event, the decision in Citizens United is also likely to usher in a new era of political rapid responses by savvy politicians on a range of policy issues affecting corporations.
As corporations raise their profiles, advocate and engage in politics by hitting politicians for their positions on policy issues, savvy politicians intuitively will respond and hit back. Increased spending for corporate speech and political advertising should generate significant media coverage. That spate of news articles, commentaries and editorials on corporate public affairs matters ostensibly will heighten the public’s interest.
Heightened public interest expands the political playing field. The more intense the debates, the attacks on politicians and the media coverage, the better for the politics in general. Savvy politicians and candidates for political office can take advantage of the new found political play, expensed for the most part by corporate political money, and prosper!
Certainly, there will be legitimate concerns expressed about the possible corrosive influence of corporate political money on policy making and the outcomes of elections.
But, good politicians should be ready to hit back if they are attacked by corporations.
And, shrewd candidates for political office should position themselves to take advantage of corporate political activism.