Deciphering super PAC double-speak

by - May 29, 2012

The landscape has changed in two fundamental ways.

First, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling now allows corporations and labor unions to spend money from their treasuries to urge voters to support or oppose specific candidates. This may actually benefit unions more, since many corporations do not want to offend customers who disagree with their choices.

However, corporations, which have far more cash than unions (as well as publicity-reticent millionaires), can conceal their contributions to the new super PACs by sending funds through nonprofit groups with innocent-sounding names.

Second, there are the super PACs themselves. Super PACs result from the marriage of Citizens United with an appeals court decision called SpeechNow, abetted by two Federal Election Commission advisory opinions. Here, it gets a bit complicated.

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