Recently the U.S. Supreme Court struck down overall limits individuals can contribute to candidates and political committees during a two-year federal election cycle. The ruling resulted in a divided Supreme Court with a prevailing 5-4 vote which stated in part, that overall limits on campaign contributions could not survive First Amendment scrutiny and were a violation of free-speech rights.
The court’s main opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, stated, “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders." We have made clear that Congress may not regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others."
We have all heard the adage, "money is power." Following this ruling, those with money have an even louder megaphone to influence the outcomes of future elections. The act of donating or spending money is considered a form of free speech and we all have the right to spend as we wish. However, we are now faced with the reality that, while every citizen has a vote, not every citizen has the deep pockets to influence an entire voting population.
Unless we see more involvement in the process by the electorate-people willing to take the time and educate themselves on the measure of a candidate, we will see the election of those preferred and funded by the wealthy minority. Elected officials should win on ideas, principles, and on character-not on how many commas are in their campaign bank account.
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