Some argue that money doesn’t matter, but Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson disagrees.
“Heavy spending can crowd out other voices and harm the diversity of the debate,” she explained. “It drives the campaign narrative, the issues that are being discussed and what the candidates talk about.”
Additionally, the rising influx of campaign money can undermine the democratic principal of one person, one vote. Large political donors expect a return on their investment and can often exert a greater influence on policy-making than the average voter.
The issues important to special interest groups do not necessarily overlap those in the public interest. In an election where less than one-fifth of eligible voters actually voted, it would be particularly easy to ignore the concerns of the general electorate.
Full campaign finance disclosure is the best way to level the playing field. It ensures that elected officials feel held accountable to voters and not special interests.
To confidently make an informed decision at the ballot box, voters need to know who is funding who and why. If money is speech, as the Supreme Court has ruled, Levinson says, “it’s really important for the public to know who is speaking.” Californians deserve to know who is trying to influence elections.
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