In his farewell address to the Senate today, newly confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted three causes of what he called a “dangerous but reversible” decline in our country’s democracy: “the decline of comity, the deluge of money, and the disregard for facts.”
A deluge of money in our democracy, indeed – and often outside, secret money at that. Twenty one state-by-state reports released this month by People For the American Way Foundation and U.S. PIRG analyzing spending totals from Super PACs, dark money groups, and out-of-state spending in 2012 down-ballot federal races found that on average, a majority of outside election money in these states came from Super PACs. And in every case, a vast majority came from organizations registered outside of the state.
John Kerry was right to draw attention to the dangerous influence of money on our democracy. When big money overwhelms our political system, it is hard to hear the individual voices of everyday Americans.