Super PACs & Citizens United

There’s a renewed fervor for creating more transparency in political ad spending, and rightly so. Since the debacle that is Citizens United (Citizens United vs. FCC), corporations, as Mitt Romney puts, have become people too.

And that ain’t right.

There is a momentum building amongst some groups to at least put a burden on Super PACs to reveal the money behind the often negative messaging they put out to the market. Currently, all of the slams – mostly on President Obama, and they’re just beginning – are completely anonymous. It’s a problem, and an ugly one.

One of the tenets of analytical thought is to consider your source. By eliminating the ability for our electorate to conduct such a basic analysis, Citizens United has blinded our democracy.

According to the Times, a couple of groups are working to remedy this. As the Supreme Court won’t hear the issue until long after the next election cycle, media monitoring organizations are confronting the issue via existing means. ¬†Free Press and ProPublica are working to leverage an existing law that requires local broadcasters to disclose the identities of those who buy political advertisements.

Naturally, broadcasters feel this warrants “an unnecessary burden for local stations and would have ‘no clear public benefit.’¬†” And they’re lobbying hard, currently, to amend the law.¬†Personally, I feel like less pitchforks and angry mobs, an informed electorate and a participatory democracy would be a rather clear public benefit.

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