Today, thanks Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, big money dominates U.S. political campaigns to a degree not seen in decades. Super PACs allow billionaires to pour unlimited amounts into campaigns, drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans. Dark money groups mask the identities of their donors, preventing voters from knowing who’s trying to influence them. And races for a congressional seat regularly attract tens of millions in spending. It’s no wonder that most people believe the super-wealthy have much more influence than the rest of us.
Though Citizens United opened the floodgates to unlimited independent spending, the Supreme Court continues to uphold limits on direct contributions. Brennan Center for Justice advocates for tighter limits on contributions candidates can directly receive.
We also call for stricter rules to ensure unlimited political spending by non-candidates really is independent of candidates. And we advocate for greater transparency of who pays for political ads, because voters deserve to know. To meet these standards, elections at every level require fair and effective enforcement, beginning with a better-functioning Federal Election Commission.