When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned key election campaign spending limits in the Citizens United case two years ago, there were dire warnings that the court’s 5-4 ruling would unleash a flood of campaign cash into the political process. Now, the GOP presidential primaries are providing evidence that those warnings were justified.
The Citizens United case removed campaign spending limits that federal law had imposed on political action committees (PACs) not directly affiliated with a candidate’s campaign organization. The result: in South Carolina, PACs are outspending the campaign organizations 2-1, MSNBC reports.
In this report from USA Today, some analysts say the new funding sources are helping to keep some candidates in the race despite lackluster showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. Newt Gingerich and Rick Perry, for example, can still rely on millions of dollars’ worth of indirect support from SuperPACs in their corner.
In this editorial, the Philadelphia Inquirer says attack ads financed by pro-Mitt Romney SuperPACs turned back a surge from Gingerich, and pro-Gingerich SuperPACS are returning the favor in South Carolina.
But the Romney campaign and unaffliated SuperPACs still have the most money to spend in the Palmetto State, according to this report from McClatchy.
Editorial comment: If we choose our leader based on the content of political advertising, we deserve what we get.