Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The effect of the Citizens United case

John Sides is seeking feedback on his summary of the impact of the Citizens United ruling on the 2010 congressional elections, although it sounds to me like he pretty much nailed it.  As Sides says, despite warnings, there was not a huge onslaught of advertisements by independent groups, at least compared to what was going on prior to the ruling.  As he notes, independent spending using money from unnamed donors was legal prior to 2010, and 527s have been gaining popularity all throughout the past decade.

Sides does find one important impact of the decision:
The main change wrought by the Citizens United decision, at least according to some observers, was psychological, not legal, in nature. It simply gave corporations a "greater comfort level," according to one news account, making them more likely to more likely to spend money to support their favored candidates. In this account, a campaign finance lawyer was quoted calling the decision a "psychological green light."

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