From U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., in response to “Big money pouring into race that could decide U.S. Senate” (Nov. 5):
The super PACs which now account for the lion’s share of spending in many federal campaigns were not created by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision alone. Of equal importance was a March 2010 federal appeals court ruling in the SpeechNow.org case. There the court held that the federal law limiting contributions to political committees to $5,000 per person per year did not apply to political committees that promised to make only “independent expenditures.”
As a result, these committees, now known as super PACs, have become vehicles for wealthy donors and special interests to evade contribution limits designed to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption, and dump unlimited amounts into the political process. The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to review this question, but it must!
That is why last week a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress and I filed a federal lawsuit which seeks to reverse the SpeechNow decision. When billionaires and special interests can circumvent limits for contributions to candidates, and instead contribute unlimited amounts to outside super PACS to support those candidates, their influence increases exponentially. I see that influence shape policy in Washington to the detriment of the American people all the time, and it’s got to stop.