BY FOCUSING only on the presidential election, Tom Keane misses the real problems with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which struck down limits on corporate spending in elections (“ Are voters really swayed by super PAC ads?”, Op-ed, July 8). In national races where both candidates have more than adequate resources to communicate with voters and there is plenty of press attention, his argument that super PAC ads won’t sway elections may hold true.
But imagine the impact if a corporation decided to get involved in a board of selectmen or state legislative race, dropping tens of thousands of dollars on ads promoting their preferred candidate and trashing the reputation of the candidate they oppose. Most candidates would be unable to respond in kind; most voters would never hear both sides of the story.
Another problem Keane misses: the threat to the integrity of our legislative process. Even if corporations never spend a dime, their ability to threaten public officials with the possibility of unending negative campaign ads if their agendas are not supported is very real — and, if utilized, could seriously undermine our ability to pass any bill that could impinge on a corporate bottom line.
The Citizens United decision has the potential to warp our democracy to the point of being unrecognizable. Before that happens, we should pass a constitutional amendment that would overturn this misguided decision.