On Monday, the Washington Post ran an article linking recent increases in anonymous electoral spending to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. But as I explain in a letter to the editor of the Post, Citizens United has little to do with these increases:
Nonprofit corporations have been allowed to spend money in elections since 1986, and they had to disclose only contributions that were “earmarked” for political advertising. The only thing Citizens United changed: Corporations and unions are now allowed to give money to these nonprofits. But this is a little change, because corporations and unions were already permitted to anonymously fund issue ads discussing political candidates.
Those looking for an explanation for the increased spending on this election should focus on congressional unpopularity, not Citizens United.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Over at Slate, political blogger Christopher Beam has reached essentially the same conclusion.