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U.S. campaign financing goes awry

Ah, how money talks. This is especially the case when it comes to the power of money in U.S. elections.

For those of you who haven’t heard the news yet, the U.S. Supreme Court has lifted limitations on corporate donations for political campaigns. The extra dollars would go toward political advertising in support of or against a politician looking to get elected for public office.

The news came as a lobbyists’ wet dream. While Conservatives welcomed the changes, Liberals condemned the decision saying, it was a major victory for banks and health insurance companies.

The ruling has been considered by many observers to be a potent weapon for corporations, labor union or interest group who can spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against politicians’ re-election if they vote the wrong way for piece of legislation. In the case of the healthcare bill and new regulations on banks’ spending on executive bonuses poses as a lethal weapon to the Democrats. “With its ruling, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” President Barack Obama said.

In a recent op-ed article entitled “Stampede Toward Democracy” in the New York Times, contributor Jan Witold Baran comments on precedent ruling by arguing that the ruling supports political participation.

And yet, one cannot help but wonder if there are enough checks and balances set in place.

Who will be responsible for making sure there is no influence on lawmakers’ votes? Will a politician be publicly disgraced by negative TV ads during the next election, if he or she doesn’t vote the “right way?” That, I believe, is a far cry from what is a democratic process—it’s political interference.


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