I was interested to see Halsey Frank’s argument in favor of unlimited corporate spending on elections. From my perspective, he is wrong.
Corporations are not the same as people. They are a creation of the state, and the state has every right to put reasonable controls on their activities, especially their participation in elections. The public has a strong interest in ensuring that elections are free from corruption and the appearance of corruption.
But the real reason why Citizens United should be overturned is because of experience. Frank states that more speech is better than less speech. That is not true where the nature of the speech more closely resembles loud shouting and finger-pointing. The SuperPACs added no thoughtful arguments or new ideas to the political process that would help people make a reasoned decision how to vote. Instead, they just railed about one candidate or another.
I spent several hours on Election Day collecting signatures for Maine Citizens for Clean Elections from people who would like to see Citizens United overturned. Most everyone who came along signed without hesitation, because they were sickened by the highly negative tone as well as the extreme number of ads that were paid for by SuperPACs. I can only remember two individuals who saw what we were doing and decided not to sign. I conclude from that experience that the views expressed by Frank represent the ideas of only a very small and extreme minority of Mainers.
Cushman D. Anthony