The Political-Monetary Complex

In its landmark 1976 decision Buckley v.Valeo, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of laws aimed at “the prevention of corruption and the appearance of corruption spawned by the real or imagined coercive influence of large financial contributions on candidates’ positions and on their actions if elected to office.” …

Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at Sunlight, found that under the current system, “an elite group of 31,385 individual political donors representing one tenth of one percent of the population of the United States” accounted for 28% of the total funding the in 2012 election.” …

The problem confronting campaign finance reformers is that they are seeking to democratize an inherently undemocratic system of campaign finance. Barring public financing — which is adamantly opposed by Republicans and has only lukewarm public support — the American system for financing political campaigns is essentially a tool for those with money to decisively influence policy outcomes. [cont.]

Tom Edsall (Columbia U.), New York Times