This edition: Who's Buying Our Midterm Elections?Tweet
First aired: March 31, 2014.
The Supreme Court is poised to issue another big decision on campaign finance, one that could further open the floodgates to unfettered and anonymous contributions, just as the Citizens United case did four years ago. Bill Moyers talks with investigative journalists Kim Barker and Andy Kroll, who have made following the money – campaign money -- their business.
Three times as much money already has been raised for this year’s midterm elections as four years ago, when the Citizens United decision was announced. “As soon as you get into office, you have to start raising money for the next election,” Kim Barker tells Moyers. “It means you can't take a stand on an issue that might prove unpopular… It just sort of means that we're going to get more of the same, more of this gridlock, which benefits a lot of these same billionaires that are putting money into the system in the first place.”
Andy Kroll adds, “I had a conversation with a progressive senator who is not a fan of super PACs and at the time did not have his own sort of individual super PAC… And I said, ‘What is this like when you're going to go up against an opponent who does have a super PAC and does have a motivated one percenter in his corner?’ And he said, ‘It’s like going into a boxing ring. I'm wearing boxing gloves. And the other guy has an Uzi.’”
Kim Barker has been with the independent, non-profit news organization ProPublica since 2010, the year of Citizens United. Andy Kroll works in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones magazine.