Impact of Money in Politics
The Citizens United ruling changed the landscape of political campaign spending, significantly altering how, and how much, and how secretively “special interests” now spend in their efforts to affect the passage or defeat of initiatives, impact candidate races and influence the behavior of candidates and elected officials. These alterations to the political process have impacted the behavior of candidates, elected officials, and voters while also impeding voter access to elected officials.
Millions of dollars are invested in political campaign advertisements because they are very effective in communicating political messages to the public. This article provides an example of how expenditures in political advertising affect voter behavior and election outcome during a campaign. Washington ballot Initiative 522, labeling of genetically engineered foods, was the most expensive initiative in Washington State’s history. The impact of campaign spending on voter behavior during the I-522 election is illustrated in this paper.
This article considers the possibility of undue influence, the appearance of quid pro quo (“something for something”), and the influence of campaign contributions on elected officials. Conflicting Supreme Court opinions are noted, media articles by investigative reporters are listed, and actions of elected officials are documented.
This article tells a success story of grassroots movement against big money’s influence on a small town election. It also demonstrates the importance of having an independent news outlet to inform voters who is funding the political campaign
This article by Kalla and Brookman highlights a study designed to determine whether or not political contributions affect citizen access to elected officials.The controlled study measured how often a member of Congress or his/her chief of staff made themselves available to people seeking meetings to discuss legislation.The randomized field experiment found that lawmakers gave preferential treatment to donors as compared to mere constituents, indicating more access is given to individuals if they contributed to campaigns. The results of the study contradict the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) argument in the Citizens United decision that lawmakers are not influenced by political money even without quid pro quo transactions.