November 17, 2017
    Is Citizens United helping Hillary Clinton? You decide

    Thinking aloud, by Ed Dalere

    04/07/2016

    There is an interesting article published recently by the Center for Public Integrity that argues presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is benefitting from Citizens United while she campaigns against such funding made allowable by the landmark decision.

    In “How ‘Citizens United’ is helping Hillary Clinton win the White House,” author Dave Levinthal begins by quoting Clinton as saying, “You're not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me.” 

    But Levinthal continues, “Indeed, a Center for Public Integrity investigation reveals that Clinton’s own election efforts are largely immune from her reformist platform. While Clinton rails against ‘unaccountable money’ that is ‘corrupting our political system,’ corporations, unions and nonprofits bankrolled by unknown donors have already poured millions of dollars into a network of Clinton-boosting political organizations.”

    The article goes into length about super PAC money and how groups that support Clinton have become interwoven among themselves. Levinthal also discusses how, under new direction, some groups have changed their coverage away from Clinton, including a watchdog that once asked about Clinton’s emails. He includes reaction of some whom he paraphrases, “Better that Clinton play and win by the lousy election rules in place today and reform the system later than martyr herself on some altar of idealism.” He mentions how others have pointed out that Bernie Sanders is financing his campaign largely through small donations.

    Levinthal cites a poll conducted by the Center and Ipsos that found nearly 50 percent of respondents believe Clinton relies too much on financial support from super PACs and big money, while 17.7 percent say it’s the right amount. Another question from the poll that is cited in the article is whom do respondents believe will do the most for campaign finance reform to make it less reliant on big money. Overall, respondents said Sanders, 24.6 percent, followed by Donald Trump, 22.7 percent and Clinton, 13.9 percent.

    The author formerly worked for Politico and opensecrets.org before joining the Center. In the article’s comment section, one commenter wrote, “This is worst possible smear campaign I have ever seen. This is really Swift Boating of Hillary that only GOP would think of.”

    You can judge for yourself by reading the article here.

    I note this article because Citizens United certainly opened the door for associations to electioneering in ways that were not available before the decision. Should or can this involvement by associations be curbed, changed or even stopped? TRENDS published an article on how a new justice on the Supreme Court might affect Citizens United, should a challenge even reach the high court. Read it here.


    Association TRENDS