Americans aren’t the victims of a vast conspiracy run by wealthy elites; they’re the beneficiaries of a robust democracy fueled by competition, with winners and losers decided by the number of people who come out on election day and express their support for the candidates with which they most agree.
Corruption takes place when political benefactors exchange money explicitly for the support of a desired outcome from a politician. A person, even a wealthy benefactor, who supports a political cause that happens to be in his or her best interest, is not corrupting the political process. The hallmark of a democracy is that politicians represent the interests of the people that voted for them.
Constitutional campaign laws exist to prevent real corruption. Corruption is not manifested when a campaign and a political group with extremely close idealogical views happen to use the similar stories and narratives to promote a common agenda and raise money from the same individuals.
In the Washington Free Beacon story titled Distinction with no Difference
, CCP President David Keating explains that, despite similarities between a candidate’s election efforts and independent spending campaigns:
“You can’t have people who work for the campaign come over to a Super PAC. You can’t have the internal plans or strategies of the campaign you’re trying to help, etc.”
Although candidates and super PAC campaigns may look similar because they have common goals, tactics, funding, and they may even draw from the same labor pool; but they cannot work with one another. Some of their advertisements and strategies may be similar and their guest speakers the same, but, again, this isn’t corruption. As in any industry, politics has its best practices because they work.
Super PACs do not share the same donor restrictions because candidates cannot be involved directly with or coordinate their operations. With the corruption interest gone, super PACs are free to fulfill an important role of expanding the national debate beyond traditional media and campaigns. Critics of this system should take solace that, at the end of the day, it isn’t the size of the message that matters. Rather, it is the number of votes cast on behalf of candidates.