Cash, special interests, dominate political process

By:  U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch

As multimillion-dollar Super PAC ads begin airing statewide, Floridians are getting a firsthand look at how the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has changed presidential elections.

Mitt Romney may try in vain to distance himself from the Super PAC his staff founded to accept millions from anonymous donors and stamp out Newt Gingrich's surge. Gingrich may decry the system while his satellite Super PAC runs a TV special on Mitt Romney's corporate record using $5 million from one casino mogul. Yet as candidates express well-rehearsed disdain over these malicious ads, the fact is they are running to become the national leader of a Republican Party that now openly believes special interests do not have enough clout in Washington.

Most threatening about the Citizens United decision is the court's declaration that caps on corporate spending in elections are unconstitutional, thus undermining the very concept of campaign-finance laws and the contribution limits we already have in place.

Yet, where most Americans see danger in allowing special interests to gain even more power in Washington, the Republican Party sees opportunity. In an amicus brief recently filed in a closely watched court case, the Republican National Committee argues that the Tillman Act of 1907, our century-old law banning direct corporate giving to politicians, is unconstitutional.

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