Issued in 2010, the decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission had profound consequences for American political campaigns and elections. But Brian Pinaire says it is only now, two years later, that the impact has become more than an abstraction. "Now we are seeing the first really serious wholesale implementation of what is allowed under Citizens United," he said.
Pinaire has written extensively on this issue as a proponent of equalizing opportunities in the political process and encouraging restrictions on corporation donations. Pinaire has long wondered whether the will of the people is served with the addition of Super PACs and billionaire donors.
But he has of late changed his mind. "I'm still quite troubled by this...but I've almost thrown up my hands in exasperation," he said. "All of the elaborate laws and restrictions...it's almost too cumbersome. Even people who are on the political left see that in 2008 Barack Obama raised more money than any candidate in history. Politics and money just go together."
Pinaire is the author of “The Constitution of Electoral Speech Law: The Supreme Court and Freedom of Expression in Campaigns and Elections,” teaches American politics and specializes in public law.