Caleb Harris: Citizens United role in politics revealed

aOriginally, the organization Citizens United was founded in 1988, by Floyd Brown, a Washington political consultant. Citizens United promotes corporate interests, socially conservative causes and candidates who advance their goals.

In 2010, Citizens United played a major role in politics because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. The ruling allowed unlimited corporate money into the political system and eliminated restrictions on how corporations can spend their money in elections.

bAccording to, during the 2012 election, .01 percent of Americans contributed to 28 percent of individual contributions. Sheldon Adelson spent an estimated $150 million with $98 million of the money funneled through dark money channels. A 2013 study found that “millionaires receive about twice as much representation when they comprise 5 percent of the district’s population than the poorest wealth group does when it makes up 50 percent of the district.”

This means that millionaires can spend as much money it takes in any election. And with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizen’s United’s favor, this will continue.

Also, states were graded on a 100-point scale according to how much information is provided to the public about non-candidate organizations that buy ads that are negative just before an election. Alabama, Indiana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota and South Carolina didn’t have a single point in the survey because of independent super PACs and nonprofits intent on influencing campaigns started in 2010.

Furthermore, Citizens United has caused a divide between money in politics and the corruption of democratic government. A candidate can be corrupted by a corporation giving him or her money, but there is no risk of corruption if a corporation spends that same money to support the candidate’s election. Citizens United says the democratic government is not corrupted. But wealthy people are spending more money on behalf of candidates. With these influences on the candidates by the corporations, Americans lose faith in their democracy.

However, Citizens United declared it unconstitutional to restrict a corporation (or a union) from spending money to support or attack candidates. According to, Citizens United establishes domination of the donor class over public policy outcomes.  The government wants to empower the donors more than the middle class because of how much money the donors can donate.



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