What Does Citizens United Look Like From Colorado? « The Washington Independent
How are this year’s campaign finance rulings like Citizens United and SpeechNow.org v. the FEC playing out on the ground and in the airwaves in battleground states like Colorado? The state is vying for the “honor” of being the top recipient of spending by outside political and issue advocacy groups — and The New York Times’ Timothy Egan, for one, doesn’t think the result is as the Supreme Court predicted:
The sludge flow from out-of-state, secretive political groups is unrelenting. All hours. All mediums. A football game-break brings three attacks in a row, calling a senator a liar, a vandal and a glutton for debt. A weather update is interrupted by a trio of hits from the other side, making the challenger out to be the worst thing for women since Neanderthal man took up a club as an accessory to romance. [...]
“The First Amendment protects more than just the individual on a soapbox or the lonely pamphleteer,” wrote Justice Roberts.
Come to Colorado, your honor. You will see that those iconic individuals don’t have a prayer in the post-Citizens-United world, let alone some broadcast time for the soapbox.
Indeed, Egan reports that last Friday, 1,200 television ads aired in Las Vegas alone for the Senate race taking place in the state. And according to the Wesleyan Media Project, spending by outside interest groups in the midterm Senate races has shot up 91 percent from the same period in 2008, while spending by political parties has fallen 61 percent. Most of the spending surge has come from conservative groups, but many outside observers are beginning to predict that liberals will feel they have no choice but to employ similar methods the next time around, meaning the midterm elections will prove a mere dress rehearsal for the flood of independent spending in 2012.