Campaign Finance Reform has been one of the most hot-button issues of the 2016 Presidential Campaign. This reform follows Donald Trump, who is running a "self-funded" campaign, and Bernie Sanders, who is only accepting small donations, rather than money from SuperPACS. The problem is, many average Americans do not know about the history of Citizens United v. FEC, which is frequently referenced in debates and essential for understanding Campaign Finance and Reform. So, I am here to answer some important questions.
What is it?
Essentially, Citizens United argued that the Federal Election Commission was limiting its right to free speech by preventing corporations from spending their budget on campaigns. In summary, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a Supreme Court Decision that gave corporations the same power to donate to campaigns that individuals have.
Why does it matter?
Many fear that, in practice, campaign donations do not function as endorsements, but rather as bribes that encourage political candidates to encourage legislature that will help business function. The implications give the corporations more say rather than equal say to individuals.
More than that, campaigns have gotten increasingly expensive. Now that businesses can pour money into campaigns with fewer restrictions, grassroots movements can rarely keep up with the expenses associated with running for office. This often means that more established candidates and incumbents are chosen over newcomers more often. Fundamentally, the wealthy business elites get to select among the political elites they want for office, which limits the power and voices of the people in the political realm.
So, now when you hear that certain candidates are receiving money from certain organizations and you are confused as to why that is significant, you can refer back to this article and ask yourself if you really want someone who will support that organization or business in office to be elected.