Opinion: Follow the money

Daily Camera (Boulder): Voters should ask two questions if they want to slow the runaway train of secret campaign donations: Who is donating the money? How much are they donating? This hit home this election season because of a record amount of money spent in two particular races in Boulder and Colorado.

It’s not a matter of red vs. blue, Republicans vs. Democrats, conservatives vs. liberals. It’s a matter of transparency, disclosure and open books. Or do you enjoy getting hammered with an endless barrage of intelligence-insulting TV commercials that demonize candidates? I’m glad that’s over for another election cycle.

We’ve just witnessed record outlandish spending on at least two relevant issues: ballot initiative 2H (the soda tax) and the battle between Alice Madden and Heidi Ganahl for an at-large seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. You can thank the U.S. Supreme Court, which opened the floodgates for hidden financing with its Citizens United ruling in January 2010. That decision made it legal for corporations, unions and others to spend as much as they want on ads and other political methods to support or oppose candidates.

However, those entities still can’t give money directly to candidates for federal office, and can’t coordinate directly with candidates. Those critical stipulations led to the creation of Super PACs (political action committees) and the newer “dark money” groups, and both have perfected the art of shielding contributors’ names. Everyday citizens and the indefatigable media often can’t find out who is donating millions of dollars in races. That endangers the nation’s longstanding desire for transparent campaigns and elections.

Visit Daily Camera for more.

Subscribe to Our Blog