Money Saturates this Political Landscape
The perception that "buying" a political office today is completely acceptable, that poorly regulated campaign money has no corruptive influence once a candidate takes office is an absurd but broadly implied concept, sold to the public with a conspiratorial wink and a nod across the political spectrum by those who benefit.
*Citizens United* amplifies that corruptive, toxic monetary influence to an extent most of us are only beginning to appreciate.
This Gem of Judicial Activism wasn't supported by ANY legislative process, lacks the necessary LITMUS of public approval (No Vote Required!) providing some shred of substantial Legitimacy. That ruling may well represent the largest threat to our Electoral Process in our entire national history in that it by design undermines the integrity of our National and State election authorities.
The 2000 Florida State SCOTUS decision placing George W. in office by revoking the authority of the Florida State Supreme Court is another example of just that sort of Activism without consent or approval of the public.
SPEAKING OF LESS THAN LEGITIMATE MONEY
But let's not forget more recent events such as the "K Street Project".
Grover Norquist and his associated cast of "Usual Suspects" have ALSO been large players in that political theater, soliciting many OTHER less than legitimate money resources. Based on and providing for widespread corruption of our election process.
Just ask Tom Delay.
Or Jack Abramoff.
What's different under the "Citizens United" environment?
Citizens United further Insulates politicians, ostensibly removes them from even indirect association with Moneyed Interests under current standards.
"Super PAC" funds and their parent organizations Broker Themselves, their representatives contact media resources and purchase airtime directly thru those outlets, a process that doesn't require third party (Lobbyist) involvement.
Lobbyists loose their value, are diminished in this context since Super PAC purchased media implicitly operates independently, outside of "Candidate Campaign" influence.
Recipient Politicians are in this new environment relieved of any obligation to expose those funding resources, the public has no further "Need to Know" under these new rules. As a result, the threat of public Exposure no longer prevails related to campaign finance.
We "The Public" are no longer entitled to know where campaign money originates, however "tainted" by special interests that resource may be.
Better yet for them, candidates have been given a valuable new tool, the pretense of being unaware and "Removed From" the actions of Super PACs, however nasty the campaign methods may become. INSULATION again being the prevailing priority in terms of Public Perception.
So candidates can conduct their campaigns with an ostensible clear conscience, with supposed pristine moral integrity, washed clean of past corrupt practices and "Dirty Campaign" methods.
Free of perceived "Special Interest" influence and associated "Quid Pro Quo" expectations, apparently Conflict of Interest is a thing of the past ;-)
Solutions? Campaign Finance Reform, of course.
The influence of Super PAC funding saturates our current primaries, yet another enormous financial "Loophole" provided by the SCOTUS. Thanks to Citizens United, courtesy of the touted “Judicial Activism” the Republicans claim to find so abhorrent.
That influence WILL increase with time, the process has only just begun. 5 SCOTUS justices have in effect revised our entire political landscape with the rhetorical stroke of a pen.
On this particular issue, immediate corrective Reform measures amount to REPEAL of that decision, and SCOTUS influence over our elections system must be greatly diminished or removed entirely.
This purpose may also be served by an eventual Constitutional Amendment, but that effort would have to be Sustained across Party lines, something our current "Party of NO" partisan legislation certainly won't support.
Showing Lobbyists the Door
For the immediate future the Revolving Door process is here to stay, won't be revised under Citizens United since Corporate Influence STILL wants their political connections to remain in place to assure full cooperation for their legislative agenda.
So retiring politicians are STILL assured of Corporate job security based on their cooperative efforts, not to be confused with practices of "Reciprocation", of course. That wouldn't be LEGAL or morally correct, you understand ;-)
"Insider Trading" isn't just for Wall Street, after all ;-)
Currently, Super PAC resources are flooding our political landscape, that destructive flood of Campaign Money essentially WITHOUT LIMITS (by design) under current SCOTUS Right Wing influence.
Necessary Reform Measures
That uncontrolled flood of campaign finance money continues to gain momentum, as stated by our President "The floodgates have opened".
Because of that, "K Street" has lost much of their value in terms of "Fronting" for Corporate money, are becoming effectually obsolete for that particular purpose.
But being functionally diminished is not the same as operating under restraint, within bounds of necessary reform. Lobbyists have entirely too much influence under current conditions of "Regulatory Oversight", as the "K Street Project" demonstrates.
We need to legislate new Campaign Finance policies and enforce regulatory compliance under those policies.
These regulatory policies should remove the hold of Special Interest influence on elected officials, reform measures should (for that purpose) dissolve and disallow the "Revolving Door" policies in place today. Lobbyist influence needs to be severely restricted.
More specifically, new regulatory controls should disallow (Industry/Corporate/Contractor) hiring of retired politicians who've benefited from that relationship while in office, at least where *Conflict of Interest* is apparent. Campaign Funding being an obvious example of "Benefiting from that Relationship while in office", as is the implied Conflict of Interest.
In support of that, of course, campaign funding from those same Special Interests should be tightly controlled or better yet disallowed, tenure while in office shouldn't be tainted by the need for sustained election funding.
BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION?
Campaign funding should not be allowed to effectively dictate behavior of public officials, EVER. So let's summarily remove that problem, let's render the issue resolved by changing the campaign environment.
PUBLIC FINANCE of elections would be the optimal solution, would level the playing field for candidates while removing the need for dependence on "Tainted" resources generating "Relationships" that compromise the integrity of an Oath of Office.
Until ethics standards are reformed, those well paid lobbyists and their resulting influence on Government will continue to purchase cooperative (Special Interest Driven) legislation, our public programs will continue to be compromised for their private enterprise profits.
Our legislation, our Politicians, neither should be "For Sale". Let's Reform this broken system.
What's in the immediate future?
Our first mistake was misplaced trust.
Our entire Political System is eroding away, being placed in the hands of Special Interests who rely on complicit Lobbyist influence (See Above!). Cooperative officeholders are enabling this, trading their obligations under "Oath of Office" for what's essentially a stake in the Corporate game.
They're selling our public trust to the highest bidder.
Moneyed interests are BUYING the mechanisms of Democracy thru legislated "Loopholes", loopholes which were also PURCHASED thru direct influence of "Political Capital" in the context of our above described flawed system.
Eventually, Supported Reform will Prevail, Right?
Hopefully. But under our current campaign environment what's painfully obvious is that finance reform is absolutely necessary. "Citizens United" amplifies the corrupting influence of $ as applied to our political system, further, it firewalls Corporations and other donors against exposure of what's essentially Payoffs, Bribery, outright BUYING of election results.
And international influence is obviously implied, conditions of complete anonymity assure that vast NEW campaign funding resources WILL corrupt our system further, even from sources completely independent from our national election system.
Foreign influence "buying" our election system. Elected officials in the USA beholding to foreign governments, just a question of WHEN. NOW, perhaps?
Unfortunately, supposing we overturn "Citizens United" in the near future we'll still be stuck with the inherent corruption allowed for under our current system unless broad measures of reform are applied.
Why has it taken so long for many of us to recognize these obvious issues? For we "99%" to call attention to that obvious Dysfunction?
Public awareness is yet another related issue to be addressed, implied MSM coverage needs to be brought to bear.
Suppose the MSM will become less hesitant? Up 'til now they've generally been silent on this issue, media management is tilted, skewed in favor of the 1% for the most part.
But "Damage Control" concerns are emerging, our broken economy has driven "Occupy" influences to the streets against our current DYSFUNCTIONAL election process, among other things.
Perhaps the tides are turning ;-)